23 Students Make History as
FIRST BACHELOR’S DEGREE GRADUATES ATSMC
While COVID-19 may have dominated the headlines during the 2020-21 school year, nothing would overshadow the historic journey one group of students at Spartanburg Methodist College completed as they crossed the commencement stage and were given a title no one had ever received in the 110-year history of the college – SMC bachelor’s degree graduates.
With the calling of one name – Piper Ann Kanata Adan-Bedley – SMC officially began awarding four-year degrees. It was a proud moment for the students and a proud moment for the College.
“A hundred years from now, you will still be the first. A thousand years from now, you will still be the first,” President Scott Cochran proclaimed as he congratulated the graduates after conferring their diplomas.
In the fall of 2019, SMC began enrolling the first class of bachelor’s degree students. The College’s four-year program offered a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with students choosing two concentrations from business, English, history, or religion. In addition to their chosen concentrations, students were also required to complete the new Camak Core professional development program as part of their degree.
“When we designed the bachelor’s degree, we wanted to provide a customizable degree that provided a well-rounded education, keeping with our traditional liberal arts roots,” said Dr. Jonathan Keisler, Department of Business Chair and Professor of Business. “We also wanted to provide a specific professional development section to better prepare our graduates for their transition into the professional world.
”Professional development was so important that the Camak Core was developed as a core part of the B.A. program rather than provided as elective courses. The decision proved prophetic as studies now show that businesses are clamoring for more career-ready graduates who can contribute right away.
Students also indicated they feel better prepared to enter the workforce after completing the Camak Core program.
“I think that the Camak Core did give me an advantage in career development in comparison to other colleges,” said Quinn Mann, who was chosen by his peers as the Yandle Senior Class Leader. “We were required to take professional development courses that other students just aren’t introduced to.
”Landon Wakefield added, “The Camak Core professional development classes have definitely prepared me for my future career. These classes have allowed me to practice interviewing, prepare business proposals, and learn project management which can all be applicable in the workplace.
”As Landon Pinckney Wakefield became the final name of the inaugural B.A. graduating class called, the historical nature of their accomplishment set in. They turned their tassels, tossed their caps, and shared their joy with their family and friends. As President Cochran said, they will always be the first
“When we designed the bachelor’s degree, we wanted to provide a customizable degree that provided a well-rounded education, keeping with our traditional liberal arts roots.”
Dr. Jonathan Keisler
INAUGURAL BACHELOR’S DEGREE RECIPIENTS
Piper Ann Kanata Adan-Bedley
Mattison Anslee Church
Rebecca Anne Edmondson
William Quinn Crawford Flint
Kabri Annabelle Gardner
Clayton Robert Hernandez
Andrea Ena Jerkovic
Stephen Quinn Mann
Ali Brianne McCall
Alex Jennings McNeely
Noah Ellis Moore
James Scott Painter
McKenzie Rose Prater
Khalil Dante Robinson
Amanda Linnette Rosa Banchs
Fasasha Rosechetta Simmons
Abigail Louise Simpson
Rowan Nettie Sivers
Joshua Lee Sprouse
Nina Suzanne Stone
Steven Michael Trench
Brady Hager Wakefield
Landon Pinckney Wakefield