More Than 230 Students Receive Diploma at 175th Emory & Henry Commencement Ceremony

by Leah Prater

The 175th commencement ceremony for the Emory & Henry College graduating class of 2023 was held at Fred Selfe Stadium on the Emory campus, Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. More than 230 graduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas with supportive family, friends and faculty cheering them on.

Emory & Henry 175th Commencement (May 6. 2023)

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Speakers at the ceremony included Dr. John W. Wells, president of Emory & Henry College; Dr. Michael Puglisi, executive vice president and provost; Dr. Ann Sluder, ’81, chair of the board of trustees; Rev. Sharon Wright, ’94 college and co-pastor Emory United Methodist Church; graduates Diego Zamarripa Velo, ’23 and Olivia Bailey, ’23; and keynote speaker, Alan Levine, chair and chief executive officer of Ballad Health.

“America’s greatness rests on the strength of faith and a culture that recognizes goodness, compassion and giving will always triumph over strife and evil. Look for ways to serve others and put those in need above yourself. Don’t expect anything in return, but do it for the joy that comes with knowing you are inspiring someone else,” said Levine.

Seniors Cody Hubbard of Kingsport, Tenn. and Jaynae Wright of Lebanon, Va., were recognized with Outstanding Senior Awards by a faculty vote. Wright was also awarded the Senior Research Award for her outstanding academic record and research work for her thesis, The Childcare Infrastructure Development Index. Hubbard was also recognized with the Byars Medal in Science for an outstanding academic record. Haley Jackson of Meadowview, Va., was recognized with the Eleanor Gibson Via Science Award, an award given to a female undergraduate student earning a degree in the sciences who shows promise for future service. The Senior Service Award was presented to Jett McReynolds of Kingsport, Tenn., for his service to the College. Seven students were recognized with the Snavely Senior Scholarship prize, including Madeline Cavender of Chelsea, Ala., Lillian Cox of Hillsville, Va., Cody Hubbard, Amaya Lee of Bristol, Va., Haley Miller of Swords Creek, Va., Spencer Scott of Stephens City, Va., and Emma Skeen of Lebanon, Va., for their outstanding 4.0-grade point averages. Of the 2023 class, 41 students graduated summa cum laude, 44 graduated magna cum laude and 21 graduated cum laude.

“We salute all of you, Class of 2023, for working hard to realize your dreams,” said President Wells. “You have a degree that teaches you to think and adapt over time as skills and technology change. As lifelong learners, you will be prepared to lead and to serve.”

The DeFreice Award was presented to Arthur “Scrapper” Broady, class of ’70, and the first Black male to graduate from the College for his considerable contributions to civilization and humanity as an alumnus and former member of the Emory & Henry board of trustees.

The first degree of the ceremony, a Posthumous Doctor of Divinity degree, was conferred to Squire Miller Henry, a former porter and furnace stoker at the College, accepted by his eldest living descendant, Marie Lampkins, 90. Over 70 descendants of Henry gathered together to celebrate the honor at commencement and luncheon with the President and his wife Shannon Earle. The 2023 ceremony marked 100 years since the passing of Henry. A resident hall in The Village on campus will be named in Henry’s honor, the first building on campus named for a Black contributor to the College.

Dr. Sluder shared the admirable story of Henry at the ceremony and stated that the board of trustees joined with members of the faculty to “recognize the distinctive contributions of [Henry]” with the posthumous degree “in an effort to tell a more complete history of Emory & Henry College and bring light to the stories of hundreds of people who have helped build and sustain it for nearly two centuries.”

The graduating class of 2023 hail from 15 states, the furthest of which is California, and four international graduates from Mexico, Scotland, the British Virgin Islands and Haiti. They have indicated a variety of preliminary destinations following their graduation.

A list provided by the van Vlissingen Center for Career & Professional Development revealed that students from the class of 2023 have landed incredible positions in widely known workplaces such as Teach for America, the U.S. Peace Corps, Verizon, Blue Gate Musicals, Deloitte, Bristol Motor Speedway, the U.S. Air Force, Knoxville Police Department, Bristol Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Walt Disney World, Utility Trailer, Eastman Chemical Company, the U.S. Department of Defense and more. Additionally, many undergraduate students have been accepted into graduate programs to further their education at top-tier universities like the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business, Stony Brook University Chemistry, Harvard University International Relations, Yale’s David Griffin School of the Arts, George Mason University, Virginia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Emory & Henry School of Health Sciences in Marion, Va.

To read more about the class of 2023 or view the ceremony recording, please visit www.ehc.edu/commencement

More than 230 graduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas with supportive family, friends and faculty cheering them on.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/349-oquinn-challenges-college-to-conquer-new-frontiers"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg" alt="Israel O'Quinn speaks at Founders Day 2018" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/300,0,2438,2136/3620_Israel_OQuinn.rev.1521739891.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2138" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/349-oquinn-challenges-college-to-conquer-new-frontiers">O’Quinn Challenges College to Conquer New Frontiers</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> In the 181 years of existence, Emory & Henry College has had many opportunities to conquer new frontiers, according to Virginia House Delegate Israel O’Quinn (’02), the keynote speaker during the annual Founders Day celebration.</p><a href="/live/news/349-oquinn-challenges-college-to-conquer-new-frontiers" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg" alt="Students at the School of Health Sciences campus in Marion, Va. Applications are now being accepted for the RN to BSN program. Apply now." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2137" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program">Emory & Henry Announces New RN to BSN Program</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Due to an ever-demanding increased need for nurses in the region, Emory & Henry College has established its first-ever RN to BSN program and is now enrolling students to start classes this fall. <a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg" alt="A map shows the counties, cities and towns covered by the SWVA Lift program." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1200" data-max-h="800" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift">Deadline Extended Until March 1 for SWVA Lift</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Emory & Henry College, exit 26 off I-81 in Emory, Va., has extended the deadline for its SWVA Lift initiative until March 1. The program helps make a top liberal arts education affordable for need-based students across Southwest Virginia at Emory & Henry.</p><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>