2021 USC Union Commencement

The University of South Carolina held Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 1st at the Union County Stadium, and welcomed USC Union alumnus and SC House Representative Doug Gilliam, as the commencement speaker.

Gilliam earned his Associate in Arts Degree from USC Union and graduated from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2003. He completed a series of military courses to include the U.S. Army Air Assault Course, U. S. Army Light Infantry Leaders Course, U.S. Army Pathfinders Course, Bradley Master Gunner School and in 2008, Gilliam graduated from the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

Makenzie F. Grady, USC Union’s SGA President, carries the official University of South Carolina mace. The mace is carried in procession on occasions of outstanding importance, such as commencements, convocations, and formal dedications. The placement of the mace on its stand signals that the proceedings are about to come to order.

Command Sergeant Major Leon Douglas “Doug” Gilliam joined the South Carolina Army National Guard in August 1984 as part of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment.  He transitioned to the Active Guard Reserve program in March of 1989.  Gilliam has spent his career in the 218th Brigade, moving from Private to First Sergeant; Company, Battalion and Brigade Master Gunner; Battalion and Brigade Operations Sergeant Major; Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion, 118th Combined Arms Battalion and retired serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.  In September 2012 until June 2013, he was the Command Sergeants Major of Multi-National Battle Group-East during the 218th Brigades deployment to Kosovo for KFOR-16 rotation.

Gilliam retired with over 26 years of Federal Active Service on July 1, 2015 where he began a new adventure as the Senior Army Instructor and rifle team coach at Union County High School JROTC Program.  He was inducted into the SC National Guard Enlisted Hall of Fame in February 2016. Gilliam left his position with Union County High School when he was elected in November 2018 to the SC House of Representatives.  He is the current Rifle Team coach for the USC Union Rifle Team.

Joshua Nelson was awarded the Kennedy Academic Award this year. The Kennedy Award was established by Mr. B.F Kennedy and his late wife, Myrna, to publicly recognize and reward the US.C. Union graduate with the highest GPA each year. The recipient exemplifies the love of learning and commitment to excellence. Joshua Nelson started his career at USC Union in the Fall of 2018. Joshua graduated with honors from Spartanburg High School in May of 2018.  While attending Spartanburg High School and maintaining a rigorous course load of honors, AP, and dual-credit classes, he lettered in two varsity sports, football and baseball.  Baseball led him to USC Union, as he joined the Bantams baseball team. While at USC Union, Joshua has excelled academically. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while playing baseball and serving as a tutor in numerous subject areas in the Student Academic Success Center. He plans to finish his degree in Business at Limestone University while playing baseball for the Saints. Joshua plans to join the military as an officer after earning his Bachelor’s degree. 

It has been a tradition of the President’s Office and the University’s Palmetto College Campuses for many years to award a scholarship for the forthcoming academic year in recognition of the spring commencement speaker. This year’s recipient was Annalee Wyatt. Annalee has been enrolled at USC Union since fall 2018. During this time, she has earned Dean’s List honors for both the 2018-19 and 2019–20 academic years, earning her associate’s degree in spring 2020. In fall 2020, she was accepted into and began work on Palmetto College’s Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies degree, achieving President’s List honors for the fall semester. Outside the classroom, she is currently the writing consultant for the campus’ Academic Success Center. Annalee describes herself as honest, accountable, diligent and organized. She loves working with children and is a caregiver to a boy with Down Syndrome who, she reports, represents the highlight of her week. When not studying or caregiving, Annalee states that you’ll find her in the sun or on the water –  swimming, paddle boarding, or hiking.

Within her Liberal Studies degree, Annalee is double-majoring in Psychology and Heath Promotion with a concentration in English. She plans to further her education by obtaining Uof SC’s Master’s of Communication Disorders in Speech-Language Pathology degree. Her career plans are to become a Speech-Language Pathologist serving students with special needs.  

Also recognized was Professor Kevin Torres as USC Union’s Teacher of the Year. Professor Torres began his career with the University of South Carolina system in Fall 2016 and joined the faculty at USC Union in Fall 2017. While teaching is his true passion, Professor Torres has also served as a medical interpreter for hospitals in both South Carolina and North Carolina. In addition to English, Spanish and French, Professor Torres speaks Italian, German and Russian. He has traveled extensively to Panamá, México, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Curaçao, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Outside of the classroom, Kevin regularly engages in various service activities that contribute directly and indirectly to student learning and success, including serving on the USC Union Peer Review Committee, the USC Union Financial Affairs Committee, and as Vice-Chair of the USC Union Faculty Organization.

The following list of candidates for 2021 graduation was prepared before final grades were reported, and inclusion herein does not constitute evidence of graduation. Honors for degree candidates are based on the cumulative grade point average on file at this time. Honors to be printed on the diploma will be based on the final cumulative grade point average on all collegiate work. An asterisk (*) following a candidate’s name indicates the student has completed requirements to achieve Graduation with Leadership Distinction.

ASSOCIATE IN ARTS

Patrick Michael Agle

Shamiya Nicole Brewer

Madisen Amanda Brewington*, With Highest Honors

Baylee Reagan Butler

Kaelyn Sydney Chavis

Heath Copeland, With Highest Honors

Christopher Austin Cornelius

Caitlyn Crawford, With High Honors

Kevonna Nichelle Eison

Brianna Nicole Fish, With Honors

Caroline Ann Fowler, With Honors

Abbygail Sammons Gibson, With High Honors

Makenzie Faith Grady, With Honors

Bret Clinton Groves II, With Highest Honors

Matthew Hager, With High Honors

Samantha Claire Hughey, With High Honors

Caden Anthony Jackson*, With High Honors

Quantez K. Jackson

Tyriek Alexander Jeter

William Campbell Jolley

Justin Edward Kerosetz

Marah Elizabeth Kingsmore

Chandler Koerner, With Honors

Wesley Livingston, With High Honors

Jacob Randal Machen

Brian A. Means, With Honors

Destiny Shykerra Means

Kelvin DaRell Means Jr.

Joshua David Nelson, With Highest Honors

Walter Brown Patterson Jr., With Honors

Adoraim Armani Priestley

Amy Elizabeth Queen

Devyn Royce, With Honors

Kailee Hope Stepp, With High Honors

Aliyah Lee’Ann Suber-Wiley

Kayla Mackenzie Thompson, With High Honors

Eleanora Marie Wiggins

ASSOCIATE IN SCIENCE

Patrick Michael Agle

Madison Beaty, With High Honors

Skylar Behney

Brittany Nicole Birchfield

Conner James Black, With High Honors

Payton A. Boyd, With Highest Honors

Shamiya Nicole Brewer

Baylee Reagan Butler

Angela Castle

Jacob Chapman

Kaelyn Sydney Chavis

Kyleigh Clark

Caitlyn Crawford, With High Honors

Jacob R. Crocker

Madison Davis, With Honors

Robert Allen Davis, With High Honors

Ryleigh Elizabeth Earls, With High Honors

Gavin Timothy Feiner, With Honors

Brianna Nicole Fish, With Honors

Caroline Ann Fowler, With Honors

Ethan Frasca

Abbygail Sammons Gibson, With High Honors

Hannah Faith Gilliam, With High Honors

Jonathan Mackenzie Gore

Makenzie Faith Grady, With Honors

Bret Clinton Groves II, With Highest Honors

Matthew Hager, With High Honors

Justin James Hall, With Honors

Dana Ann Harding

Amanda E Hendrix, With High Honors

Hannah Hockgeiger, With Honors

Nicholas Hooper, With Honors

Larissa Janeth Horne, With Honors

Kenndra Nicole Hughes

Samantha Claire Hughey, With High Honors

Caden Anthony Jackson*, With High Honors

Noah Jordan

Justin Edward Kerosetz

Robert Brock Kennington, With High Honors

Marah Elizabeth Kingsmore

Chandler Koerner, With Honors

Grace Elizabeth Lee, With Highest Honors

Wesley Livingston, With High Honors

Crystal McClurkin, With Honors

Jacob McMullen

Bryce J. Medlock

Joshua David Nelson, With Highest Honors

Kelson William Palmer, With Honors

Tiffany Renea Parham

Walter Brown Patterson Jr., With Honors

Wesley Tyler Pruitt

Nicholas Robertson

Devyn Royce, With Honors

Courtney Alexis Seymore, With High Honors

Kailee Hope Stepp, With High Honors

Jackson Stroud

Aliyah Lee’Ann Suber-Wiley

Brandon Suggs, With Highest Honors

Hunter Taylor

Caitlyn Harley Marie Thompson

Noah Peyton Threadgill

Jennifer Turner, With Honors

Hunter McClain Waldrop

Tashel Wilson, With High Honors

Danielle Nichole Woody

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PALMETTO COLLEGE PROGRAMS BACHELOR OF ARTS
LIBERAL STUDIES

Jeffrey Lynn Berry

Tomi Leitzsey Lachance*, Magna Cum Laude

Olivia Stewart Mitros

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PALMETTO COLLEGE PROGRAMS BACHELOR OF ARTS ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Myriam Dennis Castaneda, Summa Cum Laude

Alexis D. Davis, Cum Laude

Thomas Storm Edwards, Cum Laude

Bret Clinton Groves II, Summa Cum Laude

Kizzetta Zakiyyah Rodgers

Ryan Earl Wright, Magna Cum Laude

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