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Commencement speaker encourages graduates to persevere during challenging times

August 8, 2020
Carolyn Dillian served as CCU's summer commencement speaker.

In her remarks to graduates during Coastal Carolina University’s summer virtual commencement ceremony on Aug. 7, speaker Carolyn Dillian, a professor of anthropology and recipient of CCU’s 2020 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award, encouraged them to be prepared to face various challenges in life. Approximately 400 students were eligible to participate in the virtual ceremony.

“You’ve had quite a senior year, haven’t you?” said Dillian. “You began this fall with a hurricane, and concluded your spring and summer with a global pandemic. To say you’ve faced challenges is an understatement. … You’ve had to learn to navigate obstacles that go beyond what any of us, as your professors, have had to experience. On behalf of all of your faculty, I want to say that we admire and applaud your effort, your grit, your resilience, and your optimism. You have already succeeded in so many ways and there are so many more successes still to come.”

Dillian also shared that they will need to remain determined during life’s uncertain moments. “You’re graduating into a tough job market and a world with a global pandemic still raging. You may – dare I say, will? – have moments when life is frustrating, when things don’t go your way. Those are the moments when you will have to dig deep, and draw on that grit and resilience – when your future success may hinge on the decisions you make in the tough moments. But you can do this. By making it here today, you’ve shown that you’ve got the skills. Sometimes, that moment of crisis can mark an important turning point.”

One student received the President’s Award for Academic Achievement, which recognizes students with the highest cumulative grade point averages. Brenna Rochelle Linder from Pitman, N.J., a recreation and sport management major, earned perfect 4.0 grade point average, graduating summa cum laude.