‘Making the world a better place’: Lander confers nearly 200 degrees at 160th commencement
Wednesday, Dec 18, 2019
Jennifer Flora
Lander graduate Jennifer Flora, of Clover, receives her Bachelor of Science in Psychology during Lander University’s 160th commencement ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Photo by Dawn Lewis

“Many roads and opportunities for further success lay before you,” said Dr. Franklin Rausch, Lander’s 2019 Distinguished Professor, during Lander’s fall commencement ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 18. “As a historian, I find moments like these to be fascinating, that is, times when there are multiple directions in which someone could choose to travel.”

Rausch, who served as keynote speaker of the ceremony, obtained his Ph.D. in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia before joining Lander’s Department of History in Philosophy in 2012. He spoke to a room of nearly 200 graduates, hailing from 11 different states, and 10 countries, including China, Italy, Serbia, Colombia, Sweden, France, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Canada and the United Kingdom. Graduates also represented many different academic disciplines, and unique directions they plan to travel in life after Lander.

Mitchell Felton, of Greenwood, was one of those graduates, earning his Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a minor in Religion. Felton intends to enroll in seminary and pursue the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. “Culturally, I have had the privilege to encounter classmates and other students who have now become good friends, with whom social identities and experiences I would have never come across had I not attended Lander,” said Felton. “Lander has taught me to validate and affirm those experiences not like mine, and to value them.”

Another graduate was Mattia Galanti, an international student from Roteglia, Italy, who double majored in Computer Information Systems and Spanish. Galanti hopes to broaden his academic background by earning his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Clemson University, and is grateful for the liberal arts foundation he received at Lander. “I had the opportunity to attend humanities and science classes,” said Galanti, “which were supported by professors very prepared in their respective fields and fantastic in interpersonal relationships with their students.”

And while some graduates are continuing their education in graduate school, many others are going straight into the workforce after Lander. One of these graduates is Jennifer Flora, of Clover, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working for the past two years at Lander as a help desk technician for Information Technology Services. Flora will use both her psychology degree and her work experience as she enters the information technology field. “I never thought I could apply my knowledge about people’s minds to computers, but I was wrong,” said Flora.

Before the class of 2019 parted from Lander’s Finis Horne Arena to begin their respective journeys, Rausch insisted they not only use what they have learned to do good in the world, but to also repay those who have helped them along the way. “There is a wonderful old custom in Korea that is practiced by some today,” said Rausch. “That custom is that when children receive their first paycheck, they hand it over to their parents by way of saying thanks.”

“Perhaps you did not need to go that far, but as the old Japanese saying goes, ‘you should serve your parents while they are alive, because you cannot serve them when they are not.’ In other words, do what is good now, so that you may live life without regret and in doing so, contribute to human happiness and making the world a better place.”


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