USC announces commencement speakers for 2021 graduation

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Lucas Daprile
·2 min read
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The University of South Carolina has announced its commencement speakers for the 2020-2021 graduation.

Those speakers will include U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and S.C. Rep. Murrell Smith Jr., USC said Thursday in a news release.

McMaster, Smith and Childs are USC alumni, the release said.

“I’m thrilled to have such an incredible slate of speakers and to safely host these ceremonies for our graduates and their families and friends,” USC President Robert Caslen said in a news release. “Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance, and our graduates deserve an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends and reflect on their outstanding accomplishments while here.”

The commencement speakers, all government officials, will speak at USC’s graduation, which will be held for the first time at Williams-Brice Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic the release said.

Though the ceremony is outside, USC will still be limiting attendance to five tickets per graduate, requiring masks and socially distancing attendees, the release said.

USC expects 5,700 students to participate in the graduation ceremonies. The university will also hold an “in-person recognition ceremony” for last year’s graduates whose commencement was disrupted by COVID-19 at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Each speaker will address graduates of different colleges or group of colleges.

McMaster will speak to graduates of the Darla Moore School of Business, the Arnold School of Public Health and the School of Music during their Friday, May 7, graduation at 6 p.m., the release said.

Austin will deliver a speech to the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Information and Communications and the South Carolina Honors College graduation ceremony, which will be at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, the release said.

Childs will speak to graduates of the Education; Nursing; Pharmacy; Engineering and Computing; Social Work; Palmetto College, and Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management schools during their 6 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 8, the release said.

Smith, who chairs the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee, will speak during the School of Law graduation on the Horseshoe at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 7.

USC Provost William Tate will speak to doctoral graduates when they receive their degrees on Saturday, May 8, at 2:30 pm at the Koger Center.

Both USC’s Columbia and Greenville Schools of Medicine will have their commencement ceremonies virtually at noon on Thursday, May 6, according to the release.