2023 USC Union Commencement

The University of South Carolina Union held Commencement Exercises on Saturday, April 29th on the grounds of USC Union’s Patrons Park and welcomed Dr. Ann Carmichael as the commencement speaker. 

Dr. Ann C. Carmichael earned her PhD from the University of South Carolina and her Masters in Student Personnel Services from Clemson University. Dr. Carmichael joined the USC Salkehatchie administration in 1991, initially serving as Director of the Walterboro Campus and Coordinator of Development, overseeing the institution’s multi-million-dollar capital campaign. After becoming Dean of USC Salkehatchie, Dr. Carmichael was instrumental in partnering with the University to bring the four-year nursing program to the campus, building a state-of-the-art student housing complex, increasing enrollment to record numbers, and raising over ten million dollars in private gifts and grants. She retired from the university as Dean Emerita in 2020. An active participant in the greater Salkehatchie community, Dr. Carmichael serves on the Southern Carolina Regional Economic Development Alliance Board of Directors Executive Committee and is chairman of the Savannah River Site Redevelopment Authority Board. She is also active in her church, having served as chairman of deacons, personnel committee, and trustee. Dr. Carmichael has served as a certified judge for the Miss American Preliminaries and judged numerous pageants. She is a former Miss South Carolina All American Girl and fourth runner up in the national pageant. She was the former Miss Union in the Miss South Carolina Pageant. She received the SC Department of Commerce 2019 Rural Leadership Award at the 29thAnnual South Carolina Rural Summit. Upon her retirement, she was recognized by the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives for her years of dedicated public service to the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie.

Trent Turner 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. Trent Turner grew up in Waynesville, North Carolina and went to Tuscola High School. As a student-athlete, Trent not only excels within the classroom but also on the field as a Bantams baseball player. Playing in over 90% of games last season, Trent finished the season with a .350 batting average. This included 36 hits, 9 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homeruns, 35 runs batted in, and scored 32 runs, all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. His coaches and the Athletic Director describe him as a great leader both on and off the field. Looking ahead, Trent will play for the next 2 years at Western Carolina, an NCAA Division One college in North Carolina. 

It has been a tradition of the University of South Carolina and its campuses to award a scholarship for the upcoming academic year in honor of our commencement speaker. This year’s recipient is Hannah Madison Copeland. 

Hannah graduated from Union County High School, where she participated in USC Union’s dual enrollment program. Enrolling at USC Union last fall, she has distinguished herself academically, earning President and Dean’s List honors. She is the recipient of the Public Communications Award for 2023 and a member of the USC Union Research Club. She recently attended the Southeastern Psychological Association’s annual meeting, presenting, along with Union campus students and faculty, a conference session entitled, “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health of Two-Year College Students.”

Hannah’s family describes her as hardworking, a critical thinker, emotionally intelligent, genuine, and an achiever. She reports that her favorite people aren’t people, but rather animals, with her animal “family” consisting of six horses, a dog named Waylon, and her cat Sir Snoof.

Hannah is a nursing major, with plans to enroll in the USC Union/USC Aiken joint nursing program. Her long-term goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. Currently, she works at the Union Medical Center as an ER Technician, an Administrative Assistant, and a Companion to Homicidal and Suicidal Patients.

Also recognized was Dr. Emily Schafer as USC Union’s Teacher of the Year. Dr. Emily Schafer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Her contributions within and outside of the classroom demonstrate her commitment to student learning and success. Dr. Schafer is an inspiring teacher who has a knack for creating engaging, safe, and thought-provoking learning environments, where all students feel valued, supported, and heard. She creates unique learning opportunities for students, having mentored several undergraduate student researchers and developed a study abroad program to Guatemala that she will lead this summer. On campus, she is engaged in meaningful and high-impact service activities that advance our mission. Her contributions to the academic community are widely recognized, publishing extensively in leading academic journals, and presenting her work at numerous conferences around the world. Dr. Schafer embodies the highest standards of academic excellence, and we are proud to honor her with award and look forward to her continued contributions. 

The following list of candidates for graduation was prepared before final grades were reported, and inclusion herein does not constitute evidence of graduation. The listing of a name in this program should not be construed as an indication that the person will in fact receive a degree from the University of South Carolina at this commencement. Conversely, the absence of a student’s name from this list does not necessarily mean that the person will not be awarded a degree. 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. 

The letters GLD beside the candidate’s name indicates the student has completed requirements to achieve Graduation with Leadership Distinction.


Andrew Duncan Baxley, High Honors, Dual Associate 

William Berry, Highest, Honors, Dual Associate        

Sydney Hope Dunlap, Dual Associate                                   

Kallee Grace Garner, High Honors, Dual Associate  

Arthur  Burton Hahn, Dual Associate

Jasma Tironda Hill, Dual Associate                           

Lauren Elizabeth Hines, High Honors, Dual Associate

Za’Kyah Janae Jeter-Walton, GLD, Dual Associate

Jonathan D Overton, High Honors, Dual Associate   

Elizabeth Hope Pruitt, Dual Associate                                   

Nathan Kevin Robinson, Dual Associate                               

Destiny Sanders, Dual Associate                               

Karsyn Elizabeth Sprouse, High HonorsDual Associate

Trent Turner, Highest HonorsDual Associate           

Jarrett Thomas Whitley, Dual Associate                                

Molly McKinley Winstead, High Honors, Dual Associate       

Tamika Tierra Boler                             

Gabriel Clark                           

Brandon Coleman, Honors     

Daniel Cooper                                    

Bryson Daniel, Highest Honors          

Thomas Dartez, High Honors

Jose Antonio Fernandez, Jr.               

Rachel Cole Gallman                          

Madeline Suzanne Gilstrap, Highest Honors

Jacob Gregory                                    

Ebony Nicole Hall                               

Elizabeth Jane Hoefer                                    

Jaymeson T Huff                                 

Janie Cecilia Knox                              

Loren Bryce Metts                              

Kayla Jeanette Moore                        

Ethan Phillips                          

John Caleb Pickens, Honors  

Alexander Ramirez Bernal, Highest Honors  

John James Roman   

Madeleine Emma Rosoff                                

Hannah Elizabeth Sandford                           

VonDravius Sands                              

Shanya Amir Smith                             

Shamya T Smith                                 

Tyler Vespe, High Honors      

Alexis Ayana Wallington                                 

Jameon Williams                                

Lillie-Grace Elizabeth Williford           


Helena Michelle Alexander, High Honors      

Tykaylee Danielle Altman                               

Alexandra Morgan Bell, Honors         

Jamarri Xzavion Booker, Honors       

Nicholas Warren Boswell, High Honors         

Cali Collins, Honors    

Ansley Connelly                                  

Jaryn Sidney Cudd                             

Michaela Storm Davis                        

Jessica Evette Dawkins, GLD

Kellie Elaine Egeland, Highest Honors          

Daniela Elizondo Rios                        

Christian Blain Estes, Honors

Jak Everett, Highest Honors  

Kate Everett, High Honors     

Albert Farmer                          

Rachel Cole Gallman                          

Willa Marie Garner                             

Timothy Garner                                   

Lydia Shannon Gault, High Honors    

Riley Dianne Gregory, High Honors   

Mary Ada Elizabeth Heithold, Honors

Bethany Grace Henderson                             

Rileigh Jade Inglett, High Honors      

Haley Sierra Jackson                         

Seth Alexander Jones            

Lori Killian                               

Charles Mattison Lake                                    

Sarah Lawter, Honors

Michael Leone                        

Jordan Lipsey                         

Lauren Michelle Lynch                                    

William Mayes                        

Kionna Tiayaishia Mcbeth                              

Annastacia C McKnight                                  

Kyle Murray                            

Amber Northcutt                                 

Marcos Quithuac Perez-Gonzalez, Highest Honors  

Malik Price                              

Kelis Danielle Rodgers, High Honors

Joseph Phillip Smith                           

Shanya Amir Smith, Honors   

Shamya T Smith, Honors       

Corenza Zykiria Stewart                                 

Jeffrey Aidan Strickland                                  

Taliyah O’drionna Thomas                              

Hannah Elizabeth Truett, Honors       

Madison Hope Truett                          

Oscar Ventura-Marquez                                 

Alexander Vinalay                               

Jesse M Wicker, High Honors            

Darius Ryan Witherspoon                              

Seth Xavier Woods                             

Eric B Yelton                           


Makenzie Grady Edwards

Brianna Nicole Fish

Hannah Faith Gilliam

Madilyn Elizabeth Grant

Hannah Hockgeiger

Grace Elizabeth Lee

Carson Scott Nance



Rachel Lillian Avila                              

Tony Vernon Baughman, Cum Laude            

Alexis Breonna Chantwoine Beatty                            

Conner James Black                          

Nikki Leigh Cromer                             

Jane Katryn Guevarra Enabore                                 

William Daniel Harmon, Summa Cum Laude

Daniel Joseph Hood                           

Caden Anthony Jackson, Magna Cum Laude, GLD

Haley Nicole Martinez, Magna Cum Laude   

Jackson Dallas Munroe                                  

Taylyn McKynzie Price                                   

Shyquasia Alexion Smith, Cum Laude


Madison Beaty, Magna Cum Laude

Skylar Behney            

Sally Barnes Dillon, Magna Cum Laude

Genevieve Gamble                 

Kindra West Horne                 

Sarah Jane Knight                  

Keivarius DaShaun McGee                

Hunter David Taylor                

Amber Elizabeth Thompson, Summa Cum Laude

Marlena White

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