Lander's top academic honor for fall 2009 graduates went to Teresa Ann Wilson of Hodges, who received the Thayer Award. The award is presented on behalf of the family of Dr. Henry K. Thayer to the graduating senior achieving the highest scholastic average, provided that the student has earned at least 60 credit hours in residence at Lander and that the student's grade point average is at least 3.75. An elementary education major, Wilson graduated summa cum laude, and received a Golden L Award, which is given to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in the last 60 hours of instruction through Lander University. Wilson completed her student teaching at Oakland Elementary School in Greenwood. Pictured, from left, are: Dr. Lee Vartanian, Lander assistant professor of education; Teresa Ann Wilson; Dr. Judith Neufeld, dean of Lander's College of Education; Dr. Cynthia Gardner, Lander assistant professor of education; and Dr. Daniel Ball, Lander President.
Lander University conferred degrees upon 219 graduates at the university's fall commencement ceremonies in December. Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins delivered the keynote address to a full house at Lander's Horne Arena.
During the ceremonies, the university also conferred an honorary doctorate of laws degree on Wilkins, who is a Greenville native and a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, where he chairs the Public Policy and International Law practice group.
Fifty-five graduates received honors at the ceremony. Honors included summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude. Graduates also received Lander's Golden L award, which is given to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in the last 60 hours of instruction through Lander University.
Graduating with summa cum laude honors, which requires a grade point average of 3.9-4.0 (out of a possible 4.0) were: Robin Rae Crutcher of Greenwood, Golden L; Andrew Joseph Patterson of Greenwood; Abigail Ruth Potter of Greenwood, Golden L; Ashton Lee Ready of Greenwood; Michele Lynn Richey of Liberty; and Teresa Ann Wilson of Hodges, Golden L.
Graduating with magna cum laude honors, a distinction accorded to students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.75-3.89, were: Melissa N. Hjalmer of Greenwood, Golden L; Anni Elina Pajunen of Helsinki, Finland, Golden L; Kittipum Wachirapong of Thailand, Golden L; and Jessica Haynes Williams of Ninety Six, Golden L.
Graduating with cum laude honors, which requires a grade point average of 3.50-3.74, were: Ashley Nichole Allen of Lake View, Golden L; Shannon Morrow Forrest of Myrtle Beach, Golden L; Jamie Lynn Gillenwater of Greenwood, Golden L; Michael Blake Irwin of Abbeville, Golden L; Hope F. Leviner of Lexington, Golden L; Chad Perry Rude of Saluda, Golden L; Kristen Marie Smith of Greenwood, Golden L; and Ivan Yordanov Stoykov of Sofia, Bulgaria, Golden L.
Other recipients of the Golden L were: Allen Charles Amason Jr. of Watkinsville, Ga.; Christina W. Barnett of Billings, Mont.; Anne-Miller Bell of Greenwood; Cassie Christine Biron of Greenwood; Bronnita Andrada Broome of Anderson; Hannah Elizabeth Burrows of Joanna; Mary Ann Clinkscales of Belton; Wendy Coad of Greenwood; Jennings L. Coleman of Anderson; Grace Virginia Contreras of Tucson, Ariz.; Catherine Maffett Crowe of Greenwood; Porter Elizabeth Culbertson of Ware Shoals; Clinton T. Dorsey of Townville; Matthew David Falter of Columbia; Cecily R. Glasso-Smith of Fountain Inn; William Robert Goforth of Simpsonville; Sydney Alese Hale of Honea Path; Anna Elizabeth Hall of Greenwood; Emily Nicole Horne of Abbeville; Alayna Beth Joseph of Greenwood; Ashley King of Laurens; Julie Rebecca King of Greenwood; Rebecca C. Knight of Greenwood; Amber Bond Koerber of Greenwood; Haley E. Lewis of Starr; Jana H. Mewborne of Elberton, Ga.; Clarissa Alana Milligan of Pineville; Mindy W. Miyares of Laurens; Dana Holsonback Moore of Greenwood; Nylor S. Nelson of Columbia; Connor Joel Parker of Barnwell; Jacqueline Octavia Reed of Greenwood; Kayla Ann Summer of Columbia; Leslie Erin Turner of Greenwood; Vuokko Maria Vahatalo of Tampere, Finland; and Linsey Bennett Wilson of Greenwood.