Limestone College is shaking things up in order to provide a commencement ceremony for its recent graduates.
For the first time in several decades, Limestone is moving its ceremony outdoors. The guest speaker will be South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette.
In what will be the final commencement exclusively for Limestone College – due to the institution’s impending name change to Limestone University this summer – the graduates will receive their degrees at Gaffney High School’s football stadium on Friday, May 29, at 10 a.m.
Two ceremonies for the Spring Term were originally scheduled for Saturday, May 2, inside Fullerton Auditorium, but those were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One combined ceremony will be held at the Gaffney High stadium.
For graduates who cannot attend the re-scheduled ceremony on May 29, they will have the option to return to campus to graduate during the regularly scheduled Fall Term commencements on December 12.
Limestone will have a total of 295 students graduating, including 267 bachelor’s degrees, 16 associate degrees, and 12 Master of Business Administration degrees.
Including those who graduated this past December, the College will confer a total of 518 degrees for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Limestone’s ceremony on May 29 will follow the one by Gaffney High School the evening prior. Both schools will practice social distancing at its respective ceremonies. The College and GHS will also use similar ceremony set-ups that will include graduates seated on the field and spectators utilizing both the home and away sides of the stadium.
More social distancing details involved in Limestone’s graduation ceremony will be released soon.
Students will receive two tickets for guests to attend the commencement. The ceremony will also be live-streamed so family and friends not in attendance can view online at www.limestone.edu.
“We are thrilled to offer a meaningful graduation ceremony to reward our students, in a time when many colleges and universities are moving to virtual ceremonies or cancelling them all together,” said Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker. “We were considering other options for a ceremony later in the summer or possibly in the fall. But this opportunity presented itself to partner with the local school district and we are grateful that it worked out. They have developed a fantastic plan that we are utilizing. We appreciate the chance to use Gaffney High School’s stadium, which is certainly not unfamiliar to our campus community because we play our football games at The Reservation. The Cherokee County School District and officials at Gaffney High have been tremendously supportive in welcoming Limestone’s graduation to the stadium.
“We certainly understand that for some graduates and their families, returning to Gaffney later this month might not be feasible,” Parker continued. “For that reason, any graduate who cannot be here on May 29th will be welcome to return to take part in a ceremony in December.”
Parker added that graduates and their families are also being encouraged to travel to the Limestone campus following the ceremony to walk the front campus and take photos.
Prior to moving its ceremonies inside Fullerton Auditorium in the 1990s, Limestone traditionally held its commencement exercises outside on the front campus.
Just over a year after welcoming South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster as its commencement speaker, Limestone will have Lieutenant Governor Evette deliver a message to its graduates on May 29.
Evette was elected as the 93rd Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina on November 6, 2018. Prior to her election as the first female Republican Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Evette founded Quality Business Solutions, Inc., a payroll, human resources, and benefits services firm headquartered in Travelers Rest. Under her leadership as President and CEO, Quality Business Solutions grew exponentially, going from start-up to one of the nation’s fastest growing small businesses.
Evette has received numerous business and professional accolades, including the ATHENA Leadership Award; the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award; the Women Presidents’ Organization 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies Award; and as a member of the Impact 50, an annual ranking of the most powerful women leaders of Inc. 5000 companies.
A native of Ohio, Evette is the granddaughter of Polish immigrants. Her parents were first generation Americans who she credits with teaching her the value of hard work and the importance of getting involved and giving back.
Evette holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Cleveland State University.
“Limestone was founded in 1845 as an institution of higher learning for female students,” Parker said. “And now we have the highest-ranking female official from the state of South Carolina speaking at our final graduation ceremony as Limestone College. We are truly honored to have Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette addressing our graduates. We’re looking forward to an exciting and historical day for Limestone.”