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Civil Rights Icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, along with Attorney and National Media Personality Eboni K. Williams, receive Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Benedict College

The 152nd Commencement Ceremony was held on Friday, May 6th

COLUMBIA, SC, May 12, 2022 – Benedict College was honored to have Eboni K. Williams deliver the commencement address for the 273-member class of 2022 at Benedict College on Friday evening. The former public defender, author, and media personality, told the class “You are qualified to lead, to think critically, to assert solutions, to question deeply, to take up space and to occupy positions at the highest level of any and every field you desire.”

“I am so proud of this graduating class of scholars because they are academically talented, natural born leaders, and they play to win!” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, president, and CEO of Benedict College. “The Class of 2022 will always be near and dear to my heart because they are the first class to be recruited by, and matriculate through, all four years under my administration. They are my first full graduating class!” I have taken great pride in watching their four-year transformation into becoming the BEST of BC!

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Credit: AJ Shorter Photography
Benedict Grads
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

Following Williams’ address, President Artis conferred upon her the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her notable achievements in her field. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., an international champion for civil and human rights and one of South Carolina’s most celebrated citizens also became a Benedict College alumnus. Jackson received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree before the standing room-only crowd in Benjamin E. Mays Human Resources Center Arena.

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L-R Trustee Elsie K. Hamler, Alumnus Bruce Corbitt, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Dr. Janeen Witty, and President Roslyn Clark Artis
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography
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L-R President Roslyn Clark Artis, Dr. Eboni K. Williams, and Trustee Elsie K. Hamler
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

Friday’s commencement ceremony proved to be a celebration of Benedict’s high achieving students, and of scholars with national recognition.  2nd Lieutenants Juwan Biggers and Trayvon Biggers are identical twins who earned an Expert Soldiers Badge (ESB) after completing a rigorous two-week course at Fort Jackson. The Bigger Brothers have earned the distinction of being the first and only cadets in America to achieve the ESB status.

The Benedict College Military Science program is a part of the Gamecock Battalion at the University of South Carolina. Four members of the Class of 2022 were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army on May 5. 2022. 

Military Grads
L-R   Lt. Travon Biggers, Lt. Melissa Quintanilla , Lt. Nicole Comercureton, and Lt. Juwan Biggers
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

The Outstanding Senior Award is given to committed and gifted scholar leaders who are an ambassador for Benedict College. This year, Janay S. Minor represented the School of Arts and Sciences. Minor, a Studio Arts major has consistently been on the Dean’s List, has served in several leadership roles and graduates with a 3.92 GPA.  She has been accepted into the Master Fine Arts Graduate Illustration program at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, CA.  

Student Government Association (SGA) President, Kenyon P. Gray was named the Outstanding Senior of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. Gray has completed two internships with the multinational accounting and auditing firm, KPMG. Following graduation, he will return to KPMG, and during the summer travel to Copenhagen, Denmark to participate in the KPMG Global Advantage Program. He plans to attend graduate school at the University of South Carolina after completing his internship.

Kendra Lewis was named the Outstanding Senior of the School of Education, Health, and Human Services. Lewis served as the Vice President of the SGA, a Tiger Student Success Leader who traveled to Israel and is a member of the Honor’s Program. She has earned a 3.8 GPA and has been accepted to the graduate school at American University in Washington, DC.

While each of the students has exemptional records of leadership and academic achievements. Only one student is selected Outstanding Senior in the Class of 2022.  That distinction went to Hiwot Tadesse who represented the STEM disciplines for School of Arts and Science. Tadesse was a member of the Honors Program and exceeded completion of all Honors graduation requirements. Her perfect 4.0 GPA has placed her name on the President’s Trophy for three consecutive years.

She is a founding member and vice president of the Society of Women Engineers, Benedict Chapter. She was also the vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers, BC chapter. Tadesse’s post-graduation plans are to join the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, followed by enrollment in Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Outstanding Senior
L-R President Roslyn Clark Artis, Outstanding Senior, Hiwot Tadesse, and Trustee Elsie K. Hamler
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

Following the standing-room only commencement ceremony, guests and graduates were invited to a spectacular display of fireworks at the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium in celebration of earning their stripes as Benedict Tigers representing #TheBESTofBC!

Grads Celebrating
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography
Families Celebrating
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography
Grad and Fireworks
Credit: AJ Shorter Photography

About Benedict College

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 26 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. 

Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty. 

Over the past ten years, three out of five Benedict College graduates have attended professional or graduate schools. There are over 18,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree. 

The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education. 

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.  For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research.  In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest

Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work, Environmental Health Science, Arts and Sciences and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship

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