Columbia, SC -- April 29, 2009 -- The Benedict College's Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2009 will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium located between Read Street and Two Notch Road in Columbia, South Carolina. Benedict College will confer more than 190 baccalaureate degrees during the Commencement Convocation.
Mr. Rick C. Wade, Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff for the Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, Washington, DC, will deliver the Commencement Address. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina and Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University, where he was also a Kennedy Fellow. He did further studies at both the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.
Mr. Wade's experience has crossed business, government, political and community lines. During the 2008 Presidential Election, he served as National Senior Advisor to Senator Barack Obama. In that role, he provided overall campaign oversight and developed political strategy, with particular emphasis on the early primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. As National Director of African American Vote, he successfully directed efforts to mobilize unprecedented numbers of African Americans across the country.
He is a former executive at Palmetto GBA, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and member of the Cabinet of South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges. In his cabinet post, he served as state director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. In addition, he has served as Senior Manager of Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., Chief of Staff for South Carolina Lt. Governor Nick Theodore, Executive Assistant to the president of the University of South Carolina and Research Analyst for the South Carolina House Ways & Means Committee.
A community leader, Mr. Wade has lived out the real meaning of servant leadership. Among his many community affiliations, he has served as a trustee for the Sisters of Charity Foundation as well as chairman of the boards of the Columbia Urban League, SC Center for Fathers and Families and the USC Educational Opportunity Center. Also, he has served as director of youth ministries, member of the Council on Ministries and Lay Minister at Francis Burns United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC. In addition, Mr. Wade is a frequent columnist and commentator, and was the South Carolina's 2002 Democratic nominee for the statewide office of Secretary of State.