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Lander’s College of Graduate and Online Studies Honors Class of 2023


Ruthie Millar completed her education at Lander 37 years after her first day on campus. Shown with her fiance, Dale Shaw, left, and longtime friend, Jim Long, Millar said Lander’s online undergraduate program helped her earn her bachelor’s degree. Photo by Laura Wood

Lander University’s College of Graduate and Online Studies held its Hooding and Pinning Ceremony on Monday (May 1) to recognize the achievements of 85 graduate students and 50 students online bachelor’s degree graduates.

Dr. Lloyd Willis, dean of the College of Graduate and Online Studies, told the graduates they are “part of something that is vibrant and growing. You have a robust of peers on this journey with you who will remain with you as you move on.”

He lauded the graduates for their ability to adapt when family members became ill, when they juggled full-time careers with the demands of family and school when they battled serious illnesses and overcame “every kind of obstacle life can throw at us.”

He singled out the success of Ruthie Millar, of Pendleton, who enrolled at Lander in 1986 but did not complete her degree at the time. Millar walked across the stage 37 years later as a member of the Class of 2023, having earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration through Lander’s online undergraduate program.

The insistence of her mother led Millar, director of community outreach at the Clemson Downs retirement community, to complete her degree. “The online process made this a reality. This is a culmination of a decades-long dream. I am finishing what I started in the 1980s.”

For Millar, who first attended Lander without having a computer at her residence hall, Chipley, the ceremony seemed unimaginable. “I completed my degree without having to come to campus or give up my job,” she said. “Lander has made my dream come true. I am grateful.”

To the Class of 2023, Willis said, “The persistence, the drive, the determination you have demonstrated to reach this point will help you push your careers beyond what you do with your education alone.”

To view more photos from the ceremony, visit