Coker College’s 102nd Commencement is May 1

Commencement 2010 - Click here for more information

Hartsville, S.C. —  Coker College’s 102nd Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 1 beginning at 9 a.m. in the Courtyard at Davidson Hall on campus. Emerson Gower, retired vice president of Progress Energy, will deliver the keynote address and be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

The Coker College faculty will present the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at commencement to Darlington County community activist Clayton Richardson of Hartsville and graduating senior and student leader Robert O’Hara of North Augusta, S.C. The award recognizes excellence of character and service to humanity and is given annually in conjunction with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation of Oxford, Miss. The Class of 2010 will also announce the Master Professor and the Staff Person-of-the-Year awards.

Gower was the Vice President-Southern Region for Progress-Energy (formerly CP&L) from 1993 until retiring last year. His responsibilities included operations and public relations for 315,000 Progress Energy customers in South Carolina and central North Carolina. Gower began his career with CP&L in 1970 and before moving to Florence, S.C., in 1990, he was the firm’s director of public affairs in Washington, DC.

Last year, Gower was named Business Leader of the Year by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. He is past chairman of the Coker College Board of Trustees, the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Gower served on the Transition Team for Inez Tenenbaum, former State Superintendent for Education, and on the S.C. Climate, Energy & Commerce Advisory Committee. He is also a former board member of South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. Additionally, he is past director of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership and of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., Gower earned bachelor’s degrees in history and sociology from Campbell University. He resides in Florence and Holden Beach, N.C., with his wife, Jane, an assistant professor of math.



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