By SHAUN SAVARESE
Of The Record Staff
A caravan of Campbell Camels crossed a threshold in their educational journey this weekend, rewarded by university deans with the fruit of their labor — their college degrees.
Nearly 600 graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education and the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business received undergraduate or graduate degrees at Saturday’s ceremony. In total, 1,480 will receive degrees from all of Campbell’s schools during multiple graduations. Medical school students will graduate this Saturday.
Campbell University held its spring commencement Saturday morning at 9 in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center in Gilbert Craig Gore Arena.
Campbell University President J. Bradley Creed welcomed the near capacity crowd and recognized deans from the college’s 10 schools. After ROTC Battalion and Color Guard presented the flags, the national anthem was sung by all those in attendance. An invocation was led by Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Associate Pastor Rick Alan Carter.
“These students and their friends and their families, these faculty and administration, these coaches and counselors all have dedicated themselves to this very special day of graduation,” Pastor Carter prayed.
Campbell University Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Keith offered a greeting to graduates.
“As a member of this graduating class you have a very special place in the history of this alma mater,” Mr. Keith said. “You are the latest testimony to the university. You will be her ambassador wherever you go. So serve her well as she has served you.”
Senior Class President J. Ryan Holloman offered humorous and inspiring quotations before Military Sciences ROTC See Campbell, Page 8
‘The grand total of degrees conferred during the 2016-17 academic year will be 1,480. A total of 943 students will receive their degrees this graduation season, including 397 graduate and professional degrees and 546 undergraduate degrees,’ Campbell University President J. Bradley Creed said Saturday. ‘During this academic year Campbell enrolled over 6,500 students in the campus location at Buies Creek, Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina military bases and in the Campbell program in Malaysia.’
Daily Record Photo/Shaun Savarese Campbell
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recruiter Chris Psaltis read the scripture, Psalm 100.
A few rows into the crowd, Mr. Psaltis, a Fuquay-Varina resident, could see his son, Matthew. At that moment Matthew Psaltis was only a Harnett Central High School alumni, and a Campbell University graduate candidate, who was waiting to be rewarded with his bachelor’s degree in information technology.
Matthew chose the Buies Creek university because of its size and because his father is employed by the college, which admittedly helped him financially. He also admitted to falling in love with the school and being excited to enter into the workforce.
“I want to be a software engineer. Hopefully, somewhere in the Research Triangle or in a remote position where I could work from home,” he said.
Though the job search has prioritized itself in his mind, Matthew has an unfinished Campbell connection to complete. He is traveling to Germany with the school symphony, touring until the end of June.
While Campbell orange may hang proud in the Psaltis home, Camel pride is not unique to their family.
The Balay family came from Durham to see their graduate, April, earn her degree. A Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in music brought April Balay to the stage this weekend, and a pride in her accomplishments brought her sister, mother and grandparents into Gore Arena.
“I’m here to see my sissy,” Robyn Balay said. “I’m really excited for her and really proud of her.” April’s mother, Lora, and her grandmother, Joyce Duser, were also very proud.
Surely, an orange wave of passionate pride filled the hearts of the Knox family Saturday morning; as summa cum laude and Mebane native Jacob T. Knox was called to the platform and awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.
Featured speaker, Belle S. Wheelan, was also honored with the award, which represents the inspiring of other people to live lives of integrity characterized by service above self, and service to the community.
In the lasting echoes of Bridgette Cagle’s singing performance of “The Prayer,” Dr. Wheelan presented her commencement address. The president of the Southern Association of Colleges was vibrant, funny and wise.
Dr. Wheelan holds three degrees, six honorary degrees and a plethora of awards. The native of Texas is a member of many local, state and national organizations and is a mother of one.
The doctor provided 10 points to ponder, words of wisdom for the Campbell University class of 2017.
“Whether it took you four years or 40 years to get here, we are so proud of the dedication that you have shown to accomplish this goal here today,” Dr. Wheelan said, before directing the class to stand up, throw their hands up and say “Hallelujah.”
That hallelujah moment was prefaced by an earlier “God moment” for Buies Creek native and business administration health care management degree graduate, Sarah Elizabeth Roberson.
A legacy student, whose father is as an executive assistant to President Creed, Ms. Roberson didn’t always want to attend Campbell University. A Sampson County native, her mother, graduated from the college in 1983; her father graduated in 1979.
Upon attending a “Coming Home” themed worship service event at the college, while in high school, Ms. Roberson withdrew from scholarship proceedings with Davidson College, and committed to Campbell University.
“It hit me like a God moment,” she said, “This is where I am supposed to be.”
“It has been the best four years … it really has,” said Ms. Roberson, who recently accepted a marketing and public relations position with Harnett Health.
Harnett Central High School graduate and now Campbell University graduate Matthew Psaltis earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology Saturday at the Campbell University spring 2017 commencement. A special moment in itself, made all the more moving as his father, Military Sciences ROTC recruiter Chris Psaltis, read Psalm 100 from the podium to the entire graduating class.
Daily Record Photo/Shaun Savarese