Dr. James Henery
St. Andrews, a branch of Webber International University, held their opening Convocation on Aug. 27 as a campus wide and community gathering on the first day of classes and kicked off the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. Harris Courts was filled with new students marching in, surrounded by hundreds of returning students, faculty, staff and community members.
Students began assembling in front of Belk led by Pipe Major Bill Caudill and escorted by St. Andrews Marshal Dr. David Herr, Academic Dean Dr. Edna Ann Loftus, Mr. Loren Cornish, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Paul Baldasare Jr, Campus President.
Dr. Herr declared the Convocation to be in order. The Rev. Dr. James R. Henery, Director of Communications and University Chaplain, led the invocation. Dr. Loftus welcomed the students and community.
Student Government Association President Nathaniel Rivas-Blackwell ‘20 spoke to his classmates about being responsible for representing not only the graduating class of 2020, but also the entire student body as a whole in meetings with faculty, staff and community members. “We have a great team of people in SGA that have the ability to see problems as more than just areas for complaints and criticism, but instead as opportunities to get involved in their community and help bring positive change to it as well.” He listed his goals for the years as renovating Farrago, developing a mentor program that visits Scotland High and local middle schools to help encourage further education and pursuit of personal goals, and increasing St. Andrews presence in the Laurinburg community through community service and sponsorships opportunities with local businesses.
Dr. Loftus introduced the speaker, St. Andrews Campus President Paul Baldasare Jr. ‘77, as one who has thoroughly invested himself in the life of St. Andrews. Mr. Baldasare graduated with Honors from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1977 and went on to receive his J. D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Law, 1980. After a career in law and higher education, he returned in 1997 to St. Andrews to serve as Vice President for Institutional Advancement (1997-2006) and was then chosen as President of St. Andrews in January 2007 and continues in that office today.
In his convocation speech titled “Lean In,” Mr. Baldasare began with, “I read recently that the poet and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Mary Oliver, offered up real inspiration in her instructions for going to college and living a life when she wrote “Pay Attention, Be Astonished, Talk about it!” Not bad advice if you ask me! Well, whatever the advice you received, if you are like I was when I left home to attend St. Andrews way back in 1973, you probably nodded to your parents that you understood, quickly changed the conversation, and said confidently to yourself—I’ve got this covered! I know exactly what I need to do. As many times over the years as I’ve welcomed students to St. Andrews, I’ve sworn to myself not to pile on and give advice. But this year, I ask you to indulge me and let me give some slightly different advice based on 30 years of working in higher education with most of those years here at St. Andrews.”
Focusing on his title, Mr. Baldasare continued with: “Committing passionately is not passive. It requires you to actively “lean in” to the experience, in short putting more of yourself into those activities and concerns than other self-serving commitments. For those of you who are athletes you’ll know that “Leaning in” has a long history in sports to mean putting your weight forward toward someone or something.
“This concept was popularized recently by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sanberg in her book by the same title. Sanberg was writing to encourage women in particular to embrace challenge and take risks; to push past insecurities and fears. She encourages readers to be bold in the workplace about those things that really matter—the quality of their work, their leadership, their integrity, their place on the team. In short, make your commitments with passion and energy and that will take you a long way toward getting the most out of your St. Andrews experience,” he said.
Following the speech, Mr. Cornish began the Community Honor Code Ceremony having all new and transfer students sign pledge cards. Mr. Sean Moore, Instructor of Music and Accompanist, Mrs. Elizabeth Blair, Assistant Professor of Music, and the St. Andrews Singers leadership team of Gaby Stephens, Gabby Rhodes, Kylie Morgan,Mint Vu and Phillip Alden led the assembly in singing the Alma Mater.
With almost 600 students, plus faculty, staff and community members attending, lunch was served both in Harris Courts and Belk. Classes resumed following lunch.
[Note: The following release comes from the Chatham County Schools where SA alum Sarah Threatt ’17 is now teaching third grade at Siler Elementary. She is the district’s nominee for the inaugural North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Beginning Teacher of the Year Award. The release is printed with permission.]
SILER CITY — There was a point during this past school year when some of the third-graders in Sarah Threatt’s classroom hadn’t quite figured out the very handy negotiating tool of disagreeing agreeably. Becky Lane was in the room taking notes.
It was Threatt’s first year teaching at Siler City Elementary School. In fact, last school year was her first time running her own classroom. Lane is her New Directions coach.
New Directions is a Chatham County Schools initiative that provides mentorship for the district’s educators who are in their first few years of teaching. Threatt so flourished in the program that she is the district’s nominee for the inaugural North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Beginning Teacher of the Year Award. It was developed to both honor beginning teachers and retain potentially excellent teachers in North Carolina’s public schools. Threatt is eligible to earn regional distinction and possibly statewide recognition from NCCAT.
“She learned very quickly the importance of being well planned each day and the need for positive and productive relationships with all of her students,” said Dr. Larry Savage, the principal at Siler City Elementary. “She also found the balance between seeking and receiving help from her teammates and bringing her own ideas into her classroom. All of these attributes led to outstanding student learning.”
Back in Threatt’s classroom, where those third-graders needed help with diplomacy, Lane suggested implementing a chart that would guide students toward more productive conversations during group work. Known in education spaces as accountable talk, the concept wasn’t foreign to Threatt. She said she learned about it in college and used it while working as an instructional assistant at Silk Hope School.
What Lane did through her coaching, though, was give Threatt a mind to see how the approach would benefit her students at Siler City Elementary.
“The students just jumped all over it, and they spoke to each other that way,” Threatt said. “But not only in the classroom but outside at recess I could hear them speaking to each other using the sentence starters from the accountable-talk chart. So they took that outside of the classroom.”
In addition to professional development with Carmen Gaby-Walencik, who is the New Directions site coordinator at Siler City Elementary, the program helped beginning educators at the school gain an appreciation for the particular dynamics there, Threatt said.
Threatt said she’s not sure how she would have made it through that first year without Lane, whose classroom visits didn’t come across like formal observations.
“She was just there as a mentor,” said Threatt, who also received guidance from Siler City Elementary teacher Tracey Troxler. “The program was very reassuring.”
Published Aug. 29, 2019
St. Andrews University campus-wide Opening Convocation will be held in Harris Courts, Aug. 27, beginning at 11 a.m.
The event is for all new and returning students, faculty and staff. St. Andrews also welcomes community members to attend. New first year and transfer students will be part of the signing of the Community Honor Code Ceremony.
Dr. Edna Ann Loftus, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, University Marshal Dr. David Herr and Mr. Loren Cornish, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will have representative parts in Convocation.
Student Government Association president Nathaniel Rivas-Blackwell ‘20
will address his classmates and welcome new students.
St. Andrews campus president Paul Baldasare Jr. ‘77 is the Convocation speaker and his speech is titled “Lean In.”
Classes are meeting on the first day (Aug. 27) and will be modified to accommodate the Convocation: (8-9.15) meets from 8-8.40; (9.30-10.45) meets from 8.55-9.35; (11-12.15) meets from 9.50-10.30; Convocation/lunch 11-1 p.m.; (12.30-1.45) meets from 1.15-1.55; (2-3.15) meets from 2.10-2.50; (2-5) meets from 2.10-5 p.m. No changes for evening classes.
Lunch for all who attend begins following Convocation and will be served in both Harris Courts and Belk.
St. Andrews University is a branch of Webber International University. The University’s mission is to offer students an array of business, liberal arts and sciences, and pre-professional programs of study that create a life transforming educational opportunity which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core. Students will acquire depth of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field of study, balanced by breadth of knowledge across various disciplines, while pursuing a degree at associate, bachelor, or master level. Special emphasis is placed on enhancing oral and written communication, and critical thinking skills. The international quality of the student body enriches personal experience and promotes understanding of international cultures and influences. Through an atmosphere in which self-discipline, creativity and cultivation of ethical standards are enhanced, the University is dedicated to teaching its students the “how to learn, how to think, and how to apply method” to each new challenge.
Dr. Mary Louise Bringle, who taught Religious Studies and chaired the Humanities and Fine Arts Division at St. Andrews from 1983-2000, is returning to present a lecture as part of the national program NetVUE (Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education).
Her speech will be in Avinger Auditorium on Monday, August 12, 11 a.m. and is titled "Sustainable Strengths: A Liberating Education for the 21st Century."
Dr. Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College. Her Ph.D. in Theological Studies is from Emory University. She is an award-winning hymn writer, and her original texts and translations are included in multiple collections, including the hymnals of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland. Dr. Bringle recently served as President of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada and as chair of the committee that created the newest hymnal for the Presbyterian Church USA. She is a ruling elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC.
This lecture will kick off a year long, campus-wide discussion of St Andrews University’s identity, purpose and direction as a college. Throughout the process, St. Andrews will be considering four questions: 1) What does it mean to be a Presbyterian-related college today?; 2) How do we carry out our commitment as a liberal arts college to educate the whole person?; 3) How must we change in order to remain faithful to our mission in the contemporary context?; 4) How can we engage in relationships of mutual service and support in the wider community?
This program is supported by a grant from NetVUE which is a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. Its purposes include deepening the understanding of the intellectual and theological dimensions of vocational exploration and examining the role of vocational exploration in a variety of institutional contexts. This initiative is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) with generous support from the Lilly Endowment Inc. and members. St. Andrews University, a Branch of Webber International University, is a member of CIC.
Perhaps it was inevitable or some predictable physics formula that would dictate what Allen Dotson would do or become. Born in Badin, NC, his father was a chemist; his brother was a mathematician.
And so he became an amalgamation of sorts—a physicist—having once considered biology and even the lure of astronomy (which he continues to dabble in). But eventually the enticement of quantum mechanics inspired him to look at physics and the rest of that narrative led him to a B.S. at Wake Forest (1960) and a Ph.D. at UNC (1964). From 1964-1981, he taught at Western Michigan University. Since 1981, St. Andrews has been his home and laboratory and this past semester, Dr. Dotson said goodbye to classes but likely not the last of being seen and welcomed on campus.
His academic and research career began at Western Michigan teaching physics, analytical and statistical mechanics and eventually chaired the physics department. He likely would have stayed there, but family concerns brought him back to North Carolina and a job at St. Andrews. He never left but for one somewhat strange semester. At the conclusion of the fall 1994 semester, he was informed that he didn’t have a job any longer—and at the time he was the chemistry and physics chair.
The end of 1994 saw a college-wide restructuring of faculty and staff positions that might have meant the loss of his position. During the spring of 1995, without much planning and with no certainty of a position for the future, Dr. Dotson went to Ecuador and taught English as part of an on-going exchange program St. Andrews had established with the University of Cuenca.
Upon his return, Dr. Dotson agreed to devote more time to teaching mathematics. Not only was his position retained, but Dr. Dotson was appointed chair of both physics and mathematics. In the years that followed, he taught a myriad of physics-related courses and labs, as well as courses in mathematics and SAGE while mentoring many students and advisees. Plus, he chaired the annual McNair Science and Religion seminars.
In 2008, he was acknowledged by his faculty peers and awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award.
Mixed in with his campus activities and teaching, the more reclusive part of his life was being played out in a number of research projects and papers that were being developed in Morgan-Jones, particularly as they related to his focus on theoretical and particle physics.
The list is significant: Quantum-Theoretic Definitions of the Measurement Event; What Determines Whether a Wave Function is Inherently Necessary?; On Creating Values of Physical Properties Nonlocally; Nonlocal Interactions: A Jammerian Analysis; Interpretive Principles and the Quantum Mysteries; Bell’s Theorem and the Features of Physical Properties. He often wrote letters to the “American Journal of Physics” and “Physics Today.”
Paralleling Dr. Dotson’s rigorous teaching and classroom approach, his research would also resemble his precision as his 1988 paper on Quantum-Theoretic Definitions of the Measurement Event begins: “Two ways of defining measurement events in quantum mechanics are discussed in the context of spin-correlation analyses … The standard approach does lead to models, but fits well with one understanding of the Copenhagen interpretation and may help to clarify options in further developing that interpretation.”
And, as St. Andrews professors and departments have been known and urged to collaborate, Dr. Dotson acknowledges then Philosophy professor Dr. William Alexander who apparently provided “encouragement and assistance in selecting some of the reference material” for the paper on Quantum-Theoretic definitions.
Other engagements included lecturing in Colorado, Salt Lake City and a return to Ecuador for a summer of teaching English in 2006.
His ability to integrate study, research and mentoring also played a profound part in students who went on to graduate school including Matteo Palimeno (Sardinia, Italy) who came to study forensic science and mathematics and graduated in 2017. Matteo earned his M.S. in Applied Math with a concentration in Dynamical Systems this past spring at San Diego State University and will begin his Ph.D. studies in Applied Math at the University of California Merced this fall.
Matteo refers to Dr. Dotson as a superb mentor: “As you can see, if I stretched my arms out, I would spin more slowly, whereas pulling my arms in makes me rotate faster,” Dr. Dotson said as he spun around the classroom to show the principle of Conservation of Angular Momentum. While that was not the first time I met Dr. Dotson, it was a remarkable moment that made me appreciate his passion for the material he was teaching and the job he was doing. Dr. Dotson was an important mentor to me, and our individual study sessions pushed me to pursue a career in science research. I was lucky enough to meet him and have him as a teacher, and I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed. I hope he will enjoy his well-deserved time off and I would like to congratulate him on his remarkable career, and wish him the best for this new chapter of his life.”
Beyond physics and science, another dimension that applies to Dr. Dotson’s interests is his faith and how it has led to affirm that science and religion produce a vital and coherent whole. His first book (with the hint of a second in the making) is titled “The Relevance of Jesus’ Own Gospel—the views of a physics teacher” (WestBow Press 2013). He, as almost in a classroom, initiates a study and discussion of how religious experience and scientific evidence can coexist and reaches his conclusion, “that God loves—all people everywhere—with a love that will never end and that is good enough for me.”
And that is the calm, unassuming physicist preaching out of the classroom. But to digress briefly, Dr. Dotson did create a bit of a local stir in 1996 when he dared to disturb the “Secret of Gravity Hill” in a Fayetteville Observer story, that spot in nearby Johns where legend has it that cars and trucks roll up hill, defying gravity. Armed with a carpenter’s level and a pickup truck (not his), he took on Gravity Hill and declared it was gravity acting as it should. “Vehicles were not going up hill on their own, it just appeared that way and the level proved it.“
The actual physics of it is not strange. You are really rolling downhill even though it looks like you’re rolling uphill—it’s an illusion.” However, his scientific “discovery” was not warmly welcomed, he says, and received some negative responses.
But other than Gravity Hill and one semester away, Dr. Dotson says life at St. Andrews has been good. He has loved the students (says they are more career oriented now), respects and appreciates his colleagues, still walks to campus from his apartment at Scotia Village and loves to look at the stars.
Theoretical physicist and 1965 Nobel winner Richard Feynman once quipped that, “Einstein was a giant: his head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. Those of us who are not so tall have to choose!”
Dr. Dotson appears to have chosen wisely, and for 38 years, St. Andrews has benefitted from each dimension.
(Postscript: Dr. John Knesel, Chair of the Department of Natural and Life Sciences, added this about Allen Dotson): When I arrived at St. Andrews in August, 2010, one of the first professors I encountered was Dr. Allen Dotson. He became a mentor, advisor and example to follow. When I was appointed as Chair of the Department of Natural and Life Sciences, he continued this role as he taught me the “ways of St. Andrews,” the history so essential to understanding how things functioned here and continued to serve as a role model. His role in this has been invaluable. His teaching of me (and other new faculty) consisted of examples, gentle questions about plans, vision and how I intended to accomplish goals. These gentle questions extended to queries about what I was reading, where I came from, my background, how I was becoming part of SA – all adding up to an excellent transition into this unique college setting.
Over my time here I have seen countless examples of Dr. Dotson as a quintessential faculty member. These include a complete love of him by alumni, his willingness, albeit retired and on a part-time appointment, to teach “extra” (example teaching calculus-based physics as a tutorial, building a variably scheduled physics laboratory to teach students in smaller groups, teaching astronomy as a general education offering and presenting at our Friday Science at St. Andrews seminar series); his willingness to chair the McNair Science and Religion seminars; his willingness to attend any and all faculty functions (faculty meetings, opening convocations, baccalaureate and commencements and seminars) and his constant presence as a scholar.
Once, early on, and happening again and again, Dr. Dotson walked by my class and a student exclaimed, “Dr. Dotson is just so precious.” Indeed he is.
St. Andrews University, a Branch of Webber International University, has announced its intention to introduce the Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration degree and the Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness degree. Additionally, St. Andrews has an application for licensure for both programs pending before the University of North Carolina Board of Governors which is required prior to the start date of either program.
The Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration degree (BAHSA) prepares students to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in diverse provider settings within the healthcare industry. Health services professionals manage medical information and healthcare staff.
The BAHSA degree offers a capstone research project that integrates acquired healthcare knowledge, business skills, legal and ethical foundations, strategic and critical thinking and leadership in healthcare organizations. A BAHSA graduate will be able to apply for entry-level administrative/managerial positions in a diverse range of healthcare facilities including hospitals, healthcare organizations, health insurance companies and nursing home/residential facilities.
The Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness degree (BSSPF) is designed to prepare students to assess, design, implement, manage and motivate health, fitness and sports performance in diverse settings. BSSPF students select an education pathway that leads to positions such as a sports performance coach or athletic fitness conditioning coach, a certified fitness trainer, group fitness/exercise instructor, personal fitness instructor or fitness facility manager.
The BSSPF degree at St. Andrews provides students with an understanding of the scientific principles needed to optimize sports performance and to improve the health, fitness and the lifestyles of individuals and groups.
St. Andrews expects to offer introductory courses in these new programs for the fall semester. The university has hired qualified faculty to implement these academic additions.
For additional information and current course listing, please contact St. Andrews at 910.277.555.
The University’s mission is to offer students an array of business, liberal arts and sciences, and pre-professional programs of study that create a life transforming educational opportunity which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core. Students will acquire depth of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field of study, balanced by breadth of knowledge across various disciplines, while pursuing a degree at associate, bachelor, or master level. Special emphasis is placed on enhancing oral and written communication, and critical thinking skills. The international quality of the student body enriches personal experience and promotes understanding of international cultures and influences. Through an atmosphere in which self-discipline, creativity and cultivation of ethical standards are enhanced, the University is dedicated to teaching its students the “how to learn, how to think, and how to apply method” to each new challenge.
As meticulously noted in “The Mythic School of the Mountain: Black Mountain College” (Our State magazine, Joseph Bathanti, NC poet laureate, April ’14), a small and rural college became known as perhaps the boldest and most progressive educational experience in American history. “The purpose of the college is to lead on to creative consciousness a carefully selected group of young men and women who are eager to know, to will and to do.”
And it was revolutionary: no directors or trustees; not accredited; hand-made diplomas (for those who actually graduated, perhaps 60); pedagogical direction was whatever students and teachers agreed upon; no grades.
Begun by Professor John Andrew Rice who had been dismissed from Rollins College (Winter Park FL), Black Mountain College would begin and find its home in 1933 north of Asheville, NC, a few miles from Black Mountain and sharing space with the Blueridge Assembly Christian conference and training center and then moving to nearby Lake Eden in 1941. It would last until 1956 with a dozen or so faculty; about 1,200 students attended over the years. The school would serve as a metaphor for arts, literature, music, poetry, even self-sufficiency (a farm to grow their food). Notables on their campus included Albert Einstein, John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, Buckminster Fuller and Thornton Wilder.
Mr. Bathanti adds, “There is nothing to commemorate its considerable glory other than a terse epitaph etched into a silver historical marker on U.S. Highway 70 at West College Street, traveling west out of the charming little town of Black Mountain: ‘Black Mountain college: Est. in 1933. Closed 1956. Experimental schools with emphasis on fine arts and progressive education. Campus was 3 mi. NW.’”
One building remains from the former campus, now part of a summer camp.
A collection of Black Mountain materials and photos can be found in the local Black Mountain museum.
Just a few miles north of Black Mountain is the well-known Montreat Conference Center for the Presbyterian Church USA.
That would have been the conclusion to the story except for the intervention of St. Andrews professor and poet Ron Bayes in 1974 (now emeritus and living at Scotia Village) along with English professor Whitney Jones who created what was the first Black Mountain College Festival at St. Andrews (Presbyterian College), featuring Buckminster Fuller and a geodesic dome built on the grass field next to the Morgan Liberal Arts Building.
Mr. Bathanti, who taught at St. Andrews and considers Ron Bayes his "Literary Godfather,” writes that Bayes had known some of the Black Mountain writers and had kept in touch with them, a few who had been visitors to St. Andrews even before the 1974 celebration.
1989 would bring another reprise of Black Mountain along with SA alum and poet/author Tom Patterson and the Jimmy Morgan Jazz Band.
St. Andrews alumni and friends organized a trip to Black Mountain in 2005 and spent three days touring various areas connected to the college.
And in 2016, Dr. Ted Wojtasik, assistant professor of English and Creative Writing, planned the fall semester as a tribute with arts, music, poetry, prose readings and dance. His line-up included Bathanti, Patterson, Basil and Martha King, Penelope Creeley, Helen Simoneau Danse Company and Douglas Dunn Dance Company. Wojtasik read his poetry and Dr. Neal Bushoven, who was teaching at St. Andrews in 1974, reminisced about the earlier festival.
Out of Black Mountain and the St. Andrews association, the Department of Liberal and Creative Arts established the Black Mountain Scholars, a group of students who engage in experimental learning and performance, using the traditions and history of BMC as inspiration. The department has also started teaching cross-over classes that emphasize a connection between disciplines: art with history, creative writing with music, politics with theatre, etc.
Currently during the ’19 spring semester, the St. Andrews Black Mountain Scholars program joined the history and religious studies faculty in a team-taught exploration of the relationship between religious iconography and the Black Mountain College approach to learning. Dr. David Herr and Dr. Tanner Capps offered Lived Theology and the Black Mountain Ethos. Students explored the relationship between religion as a belief system and religion as a set of practices by exploring a wide range of world religions and their expressions. They also learned the history of Black Mountain College and the long association many of its students and faculty had with St. Andrews.
Professors Herr and Capps presented the course following the tenants of Black Mountain College that included an informal class environment, student directed inquiry, and student-faculty collaboration. The students shared their individual research efforts in an artistic collaboration (as pictured) that served as the final project. Using a 15 by 8 foot canvas, they created a mural blending interpretations of religious iconography with reflections on the ideas they gathered from learning about Black Mountain College. The mural will eventually be displayed in the Division of Liberal and Creative Arts’ home, the Vardell Building, which is undergoing renovation following Hurricane Florence.
Black Mountain Scholars have returned to Black Mountain where they spent time with Mr. Bathanti, stayed on the original campus and conducted research into Black Mountain College through the NC Western Regional Archives, the BMC Museum, and the Asheville Museum of Art. Another trip to Black Mountain is planned for May 2020.
Significant sources of information about Black Mountain College are available in the DeTamble Library archives and Library Director Mary McDonald ’79.
Additional information about students interested in becoming Black Mountain Scholars and scholarships can be accessed through Liberal Arts Division Chair, Dr. David Herr ’91, at email@example.com.
St. Andrews University, a branch of Webber International University, celebrated its 122nd Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, on the DeTamble Library Terrace, as 116 graduates were joined by their families and friends.
Piper and instructor William Caudill ’89 and the St. Andrews Pipe Band led the Class of 2019 and faculty across the cause walk to the platform set next to Lake Ansley Moore.
This year’s class came from 17 countries and 17 states. Degrees included Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master in Business.
Music was provided by Sean Moore, music instructor and staff accompanist, and the St. Andrews Singers, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Elizabeth Blair.
Dr. David Herr, Associate Professor of American History and University Marshal, declared the opening of Commencement.
St. Andrews University President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 welcomed all and reminded the seniors that their journey began with Convocation four years earlier, and today was the successful conclusion of their efforts. He was joined by Trustee Mr. Joe Stricker, chair of the board of trustees. Dr. Keith Wade, Webber International University President, was part of the platform group.
Dr. Edna Ann Loftus, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, announced the Class of 1991 Distinguished Faculty award went to Science professor, Dr. Bonnie Draper.
President Baldasare presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards that “recognizes the spiritual qualities of the recipients as reflected in their selfless gift of their time and energy in the service of others … The Society further specifies that the Sullivan Awards are intended to recognize nobility of character in those people who, in their daily life, habitually go “outside the narrow circle of self-interest” and expend their energies in the service of others.
The student award went to senior Gabriella Rhodes (Texas), and the community award to Laurinburg’s Jerry Riggins, owner of Jerry’s Deli and Grill and Pine Acres, for his contributions to St. Andrews for volunteering electrical contracting and expertise after the hurricane and additional contributions of service to St Andrews.
Kayla Carter (St. Andrews at Sandhills) and Eduardo Andrade, student government president for the past two years, were the selected senior class speakers.
The commencement speaker was the Honorable Robert S. Brewbaker, a 1969 St. Andrews graduate. After St. Andrews, he graduated from Union Theological Seminary and later the University of Virginia School of Law. Beginning in 1986, Mr. Brewbaker served for more than 25 years on the St. Andrews Board of Trustees.
He is a former trial lawyer who for 27 years represented both plaintiffs and defendants in disputes including personal injury and medical malpractice. Following his tenure as a trial lawyer, he served as a juvenile and domestic relations judge in Virginia for a decade, during which time he helped families through the difficult and emotional issues of juvenile crime, child abuse, child custody and visitation. He continues to serve that court on a part-time basis and as a mediator of legal disputes.
His speech began reminiscing about where he started at St. Andrews and recalling the lake: “A quick 53 years and 8 months ago, I sat exactly where you sit this morning. It was September 1965. The occasion was St. Andrews opening convocation. I was a freshman. Our speaker was St. Andrews president, Dr. Ansley Moore, after whom this beautiful and destructive lake is named. That’s a bit odd because Dr. Moore was neither beautiful nor destructive. During his speech Dr. Moore said the following, word for word. “Here at St. Andrews, we will not teach you how to make a living. We think you will find that making a living is relatively easy.”
His remarks centered on seniors and their last year on campus having to deal with the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence that changed much of their lives on campus throughout the academic year. His theme of making a life continued: “The secret to making a life. You see, the secret is not about strategies to avoid pain, or toil, or hard times, but rather overcoming adversity when adversity comes your way—just like you have done. My dear and fellow St. Androids. You have dealt with adversity correctly. Your ticket has been punched and you will go places you could not have gotten to otherwise. Hear this also as your call—a call for you to serve others by building community in all the places you go and with all the people you touch when you leave this special place. Continue to show us how to make a life. “
Following the speech, Dr. Lotus announced all graduates’ names, and President Baldasare with the assistance of Registrar Lyndsey Moss ’13, handed out individual diplomas.
Campus events for seniors and families began on Friday afternoon with the Baccalaureate service, held this year in Avinger Auditorium. Led by graduating seniors Kiah Cheatham, Lee Anne Hanke, Matthew Fletcher, Lydia Randell and the St. Andrews Singers, the guest preacher was the Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn, pastor of Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. Caldwell is an urban, diverse and missional faith community of about 325 that intersects a wide range of people in worship, formation and service in the community. Prior to entering ministry in 2008, Dr. Cleghorn worked in the private sector. For 18 years, he held various communications and public policy roles with Bank of America, retiring early as a senior vice president. Prior to that, he was a reporter for the Charlotte Observer. He holds degrees from Washington and Lee University, Union Presbyterian Seminary and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
His sermon, based on two scriptural texts about water, concentrated on the idea of storms and how they interrupt lives. “You took the best Florence could deliver and here you are. You’ve learned lessons most other schools did not offer this academic year. Other storms by other names will come calling – in your careers, in your personal relationships, in your family life, in your own physical and mental and spiritual health. As with the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, there will be times when you wonder whether there really is a sovereign God. My advice is, as the disciples did, to stay in the boat and know that the storm will pass.”
Following Commencement, a reception was held in The Grove. Baccalaureate and Commencement for 2020 are planned for May 2-3.
The Baccalaureate sermon and Commencement speeches are available at the following links:
St. Andrews University held its annual Alumni Weekend Celebration, April 12-14, where the Class of 1969 celebrated its 50th reunion. The largest entering class in St. Andrews history, over 60 people returned to the campus to celebrate and reunite with old classmates. The class raised over $72,000 in time for the reunion to donate to the university for hurricane relief efforts and has surpassed $83,000 in fundraising for their gift.
Bill Rinker ’69 presents President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 with the class gift check at the Friday evening banquet. (R. Coffman/photo)