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Jon Huntsman Jr.
Jon Huntsman Jr.

A USC day of celebration: Spring commencement

Sellers is chairman of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and chairman of New Carolina, a non-profit council of leadership in business, academia and government whose mission is to drive a long-term economic development strategy for South Carolina. He also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

He closed his remarks with three wishes for the graduates:

“I wish for you the power and energy that come from a clear and critical mind. It is immeasurable. It is freeing. It is liberating and it will help you…I wish you the courage that flows from a joyful commitment to uncertainty,” he said. “And I wish for you the beauty of many, many, many rising full moons. May you pause for a moment and have that soft light shine on you and take from it the quickened step that gets you down the road to where you so deservingly need to be.”

About 1,100 graduates received their degrees from Carolina’s College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, the Fort Jackson Military Base Program, Interdisciplinary Programs, Palmetto Programs, the School of Music and the College of Social Work.

Among the students receiving degrees were the first graduates of the university’s Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work program, which began in fall 2009.

One of those graduates, Terence Johnson of Aiken, will begin working on a master’s in social work as a path to helping people.

“To me, the appeal of being a social worker is being able to help people,” Johnson said. “Everybody needs help, and some people don’t have a voice. I have a voice, and I’ll be able to use that voice to advocate for the people who don’t,” Johnson said. “I’ll sleep better at night knowing that I’m helping.”

Kellie Middleton of Augusta, Ga., was receiving her master’s in social work at Saturday’s commencement. She plans to get her clinical license and work with military families. “I’m prior military, and I know how important they are to the community. I’m passionate about that,” said Middleton, who spent five years in the Army before starting college.

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