Spartanburg, S.C.— Converse College conferred 173 bachelor’s and master’s degrees during its 116th commencement May 17 in Twichell Auditorium. The college also awarded South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal with an honorary degree, presented the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award to one graduating senior and one community leader, and presented several academic and scholarly achievement awards to students and faculty members.
Chief Justice Toal, the first woman to serve as a Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, presented the commencement address. She challenged the graduates to take what they have learned at Converse and answer the clarion call from their country and their world. “It is true that you did not make the world you are about to inherit, but you have the chance, the challenge and, indeed, the duty to leave it better than you found it. As you become trustees of an awesome world, the question is whether you will help or whether you will stand idly by. Each of us ultimately will be judged and ultimately will judge ourselves on the extent to which we have personally contributed to improving the human condition. It is true that each of us has a responsibility to develop our individual talent, but I believe each of us also has a duty to work for something in life bigger than ourselves.”
The Class of 2008 expressed their appreciation for Toal by presenting her with a supply of 173 Converse Valkyries golf balls. As each senior walked across the stage to receive her diploma, she dropped one ball into a bucket on stage at Toal’s seat. Toal, an avid golfer, was encouraged by President Betsy Fleming to scatter the balls throughout golf courses near and far to spread the word about Converse’s new mascot, joking that her large supply would afford her the luxury of leaving one or two behind each time she played a new course. The Class of 2008 leaves Converse with plans to pursue exciting careers and post-graduate study in some of the world’s most prestigious programs.
Members of the class have been awarded graduate school placements from
- Princeton University’s Public Affairs Program
- Georgetown University Medical School’s Nuclear Chemistry Ph.D. program
- Thomas Jefferson Program for Public Policy at the College of William & Mary
- The Universidad de Chile in Santiago’s Music Composition program
- Florida State University’s Ph.D. program in Historical Musicology
- Michigan State University’s Ph.D. program in Cognitive Psychology
- Wichita State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Poetry
- East Tennessee State University’s Audiology program
- University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
- Masters of Music Performance Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
- University of South Carolina’s Master of Accountancy