Commencement Program 2022


ROTC Color Guard

Traditional Bagpipe Marches
Adrian McNeil and John Starke

“Pomp and Circumstance” (Edward Elgar)
Amalgam Brass

National Anthem*
Ashlynn Charles ‘24

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Carter, William C. Bennett Chaplain

Welcome Remarks & Award Recognitions
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., President

Traditional Undergraduate Class Speaker
Ashby Powell King ‘22

School of Professional Studies Class Speaker
Nicole Angel Lyons ‘21

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
Major William Burgdorf

Students Receiving Commission
Hannah Lynn Slone ‘22
Ja’Unn Lamonta Caldwell ‘22

Commencement Speaker
Sepi Saidi, Founder & CEO of SEPI, Inc.

Honorary Degree Candidate Sepi Saidi
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D.
Billie J. Redmond, Chair, Board of Trustees

Presentation of Candidates
Melanie Fuller, Ph.D., Registrar
Lori Holcomb McClaren, Ph.D., Executive Director of the School of Professional Studies

Conferring of Degrees
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D. 

Closing Remarks
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D. 

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Carter 

Amalgam Brass

William Peace University Alma Mater*
Ashlynn Charles ‘24

*Audience please stand if able. 

2022 Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Sepideh (Sepi) Saidi is the founder and CEO of SEPI, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh. The civil engineering firm offers full-service infrastructure design, planning, and construction management services to public and private clients throughout the southeast.

Saidi was born in Tehran, Iran, where she was raised with an emphasis on education and independence. She excelled in science and math throughout school and chose to major in engineering at NC State. Due to the political turmoil in Iran in the 1980s, Saidi was separated from her family and her financial support.

Saidi started her company in 2001 with $35,000 in home equity. SEPI, Inc. had $36 million in gross revenue in 2021. Saidi and her company have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Fast 50 by Triangle Business Journal, Zweig Group’s Best Places to Work For and Hot Firm, Inc. 5000, the Triangle Business Journal as Businessperson of the Year; Saidi was also inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame. 

She has served on multiple nonprofit boards and professional organizations, which currently include the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Executive Board, the NC Chamber of Commerce, and the FMI Board of Directors.

Sepi Saidi  

2022 Awards

The Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award

The Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award for academic achievement was established in 1969 in memory of the late Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham, the first student to matriculate at the Peace Institute in 1872. The award is presented to the graduating senior whose academic record places him/her at the top of his/her class as Valedictorian. Additionally, this award is given to the student who, in the faculty’s opinion, exemplifies commendable traits of citizenship, cooperation, and concern for others.

Rafael Ortega, Jr., B.A., Criminal Justice

Rafael Ortega is recognized as the Valedictorian and recipient of the Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award. Dr. Elizabeth Kusko, Associate Professor of Political Science, praises Rafel as “an outstanding student … brilliant, curious, hard-working, thoughtful, a critical thinker, an exceptional writer! He’s every professor’s dream.” 

She says “Rafael reached his goal and attained this incredible accomplishment while juggling so many life responsibilities. Rafael worked tirelessly for this accomplishment, and I can think of no one more deserving.” Congratulations to Rafael for his outstanding academic achievements and commitment to excellence!

The Outstanding Graduate Award

The Outstanding Graduate Award is presented to the William Peace University graduate who is an outstanding member of the graduating class in their academic, social, and religious leadership; in acceptance of obligations, and in general interpretation of the ideals of William Peace University.

Traditional Undergraduate Outstanding Graduate

Dillon E. Garbrandt, B.S., Biology 

Dillon Garbrandt

Dillon transferred to WPU in the Fall of 2019 and has been a leader across campus. Dillon has served as a peer tutor and undergraduate teaching assistant, and he has conducted undergraduate research. He has been a student-athlete, playing and serving as co-captain for the soccer team and playing on the tennis team. Dillon’s leadership roles include serving on the Campus Activities Board, as the student body president, as a Resident Assistant, and as a DEEP Leader. Dillon has been inducted into Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. Congratulations to Dillon for his contributions and success in the classroom and beyond.

School of Professional Studies Outstanding Graduate

Alorra Dennin Frombach, B.A., Psychology

Alorra enrolled in the School of Professional Studies after joining the Army; it allowed her to pursue her academic and career goals simultaneously. Alorra has a strong work ethic and frequently takes the initiative to address complex issues and challenges. Her ability to think creatively is one of her greatest assets. Alorra embodies what it means to be an outstanding graduate in the School of Professional Studies Student through her academic record, character, and perseverance.

Alorra Frombach

Alumni Distinguished Professor

Alumni Distinguished Professor 

The Alumni Distinguished Professorship, created by the Alumni Association of William Peace University, recognizes one outstanding faculty member who has a history of dedicated teaching service, distinguished teaching accomplishments, as well as demonstrated exceptional support for students’ efforts in the areas of advising, counseling, and career advancement. The Professorship is a three-year appointment and provides the recipient with a stipend for faculty development and a reserved parking space on campus. Nominations are made from the faculty, selected by the Senior Leadership Team, and approved by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. 

Charles Duncan, Ph.D. – Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Duncan is an outstanding educator focused on students and their success. Dr. Duncan received more than a dozen nominations for this year’s Alumni Distinguished Professorship. His nominators had this to say about him: “He is beloved and respected by both students and faculty…his teaching style is compelling and very effective… our graduates are better students and citizens become of him…his leadership and amazing personality have led faculty and students through a very difficult couple of years… he is the first person to reach out to a student with needs…he sees the potential in all students and does everything he can to help them realize it.”

McCormick Distinguished Teaching Award

McCormick Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes a full-time faculty member with the characteristics of a master teacher and scholar, concern for the development of students, and a commitment to education. Nominations are made by students, faculty, and staff. In consultation with past recipients, the Office of Academic Affairs selects the yearly recipient.  

Heidi Gailor, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Business and Coordinator of Honors Program

Heidi Gailor

Dr. Gailor received numerous nominations for this award, from faculty, staff, and students, with accolades for her exemplary teaching, passion for leadership, ability to create engaging classes, and commitment to remaining current in the discipline. She is a true leader around immersive learning, incorporating travel experiences, client-based projects, guest speakers, and engaging simulations into her courses. She is also dedicated to every one of her students. One student nominee wrote that Dr. Gailor “is the professor you dream of having because of her knowledge and dedication to her students.” Another wrote, “What she does best is see the potential in all the students that sit in her classes.”

Adair Robertson, M.S. – Associate Professor of Mathematics and Coordinator of International Studies

Ms. Robertson is recognized as a master teacher and dedicated mentor, giving countless hours to her students and colleagues. She received numerous nominations for this award from faculty, staff, and students. Nominees referenced Ms. Robertson’s ability to teach challenging concepts in ways that students can understand. One student wrote that Ms. Robertson “goes above and beyond to help her students.” Another noted she is “so approachable and reliable, making time for students outside of class and office hours. She’s made Peace feel like home.”  

Adair Robertson

Colleagues also celebrate Ms. Robertson’s encouraging approach, extensive service, and commitment to offering international travel to allow students to see the world. Ms. Robertson is retiring after 40 years of teaching at Peace, and this award recognizes her life’s work in support of WPU and our students.

Alumni Distinguished Advising Award

Alumni Distinguished Advising Awards are given each year to two faculty advisors who demonstrate excellence in academic advising, support of advising program goals, and commitment to improving advising effectiveness.

Corinne Andersen, Ph.D. – Professor of English and Program Director of English

Corinne Andersen

Numerous students nominated Dr. Andersen for this award, celebrating her patience, thoroughness, and that she always takes time for her students. One student wrote, “She made sure that I was good, pushed me past my limits, and encouraged me to step outside the box. She is reliable and is just a good human to have in your corner! She deserves this award!” We celebrate Dr. Andersen for her continuous mentoring and support of her advisees and all students.

Lisa Bonner, Ph. D.  – Professor of Biology and Department Chair of Science and Mathematics

Numerous students nominated Dr. Bonner for this award, praising her detailed advising plans, attention to detail, and genuine care for each of her students. One student wrote, “Dr. Bonner is incredibly thorough at tailoring advice for each student.” Another noted that Dr. Bonner is “very helpful with any needs and is always there to lend a helping hand. She truly cares about the individual success of the student.” 

Lisa Bonner

We celebrate Dr. Bonner for the dedication and care she demonstrates for her advisees and all students.

The Part-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award

The Part-Time Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, initiated in 2021, recognizes one part-time faculty member in our Traditional Undergraduate program and one in the School of Professional Studies. William Peace University benefits from the positive contributions of many part-time faculty members dedicated to outstanding teaching, including classroom innovation, consistent commitment to students and their success, and contributions to the academic department or University. The award recipients must have taught at William Peace University for at least three semesters.

Traditional Undergraduate Recipient 

Jennifer Suchanec, M.A. – Instructor of English

Jennifer Suchanec

Ms. Suchanec has taught part-time at WPU for over 15 years and is a contributing member of the English department faculty. She received multiple nominations for this award in recognition of her dedication to her students and commitment to improving her own teaching every semester. One nominee writes that “She is not the type of instructor who just puts a new date on an old syllabus and calls it a day.  She experiments, innovates, and updates her course every semester; she’ll even pivot mid-semester to meet the needs of her students and keep things fresh.” 

We are grateful for Ms. Suchanec’s ongoing contributions to the English department and her dedication to her courses and her students.

School of Professional Studies Recipient

Dale O’Neal, M.S., M.S.N.  – Instructor of Nursing 

Dale O’Neal

Ms. O’Neal joined WPU as a part-time faculty member when the program started in 2019. She is an integral part of the Nursing faculty and serves on the Nursing Advisory Board. One nominator noted that she is “an excellent teacher who engages with her students to ensure that their educational experience is of the highest quality.”  Another stated, “She has been an engaged and supportive colleague and goes above and beyond to attend faculty meetings, advise in the nursing program, and attend social and celebratory events with the students.” 

Another noted that Ms. O’Neal “worked one-on-one with students to make sure that they could achieve the learning outcomes for the course.” 

We are grateful for Ms. O’Neal’s commitment to the Nursing program and her assistance in launching the RN to BSN program and her excellent teaching and commitment to her students. 

2022 Alumni Association President

Kristy Mallard, a Peace College graduate of 1993, is the current President of the William Peace University Alumni Association and a member of the Board of Trustees. She shared remarks to graduates in a video available on WPU social media accounts. 

As a student, she was a member and co-captain of the Peace Pacers Dance Team. After graduation from Peace, Ms. Mallard completed her degree at North Carolina State College of Textiles and went on to have a career in the apparel and golf industry, working for Ralph Lauren, Peter Millar, and now G/FORE.  

Ms. Mallard’s fondest memories of her time at Peace include sitting on the side porch of East (Frazier) with fellow classmates, chapel services, daddy-daughter weekend, and spending time on a small campus where you knew everyone.

Ms. Mallard and her husband, Matt, have one daughter and son-in-law who live in Savannah, GA. She lives in Greensboro, NC, where she plays golf, teaches yoga, and is an active member of Westover Church.

The mission of the William Peace University Alumni Association is to celebrate the uniqueness of the Peace experience, support and engage with current students and alumni, and build personal and lasting ties between alumni, the University and the community.

Ms. Mallard’s Remarks to Graduates

2022 Student Speakers

The Student Speaker is an honor granted to one graduating senior from the Traditional Undergraduate class and one from the School of Professional Studies. To be considered, students must be in good academic standing and good conduct standing to ensure they are exemplary representatives of their graduating class. After applying, students are selected by the Commencement Committee. 

Class of 2022 Traditional Undergraduate Student Speaker

Ashby Powell King, B.S., Biology 

Class of 2022 School of Professional Studies Student Speaker

Nicole Angel Lyons, B.A., Education 

2022 Graduates

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts Degree

Georges Rabih Abi-Aad Magna Cum Laude Apex, NC Simulation and Game Design
Dalton Chase Albright Mebane, NC Education
Edgar Ivan Arrieta Reyes Summa Cum Laude Monterrey, Mexico Psychology
Daniel Cole Atwood Magna Cum Laude Mount Olive, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Kyana Danyse Ayscue Henderson, NC Simulation and Game Design
Patrick Thomas Bacher Simulation and Game Design
Cierra Renee Baker Cum Laude Fuquay-Varina, NC Criminal Justice
Kimberly Barrios-Carranza Magna Cum Laude Wendell, NC Criminal Justice
Krishira Imani Batts Wilson, NC Psychology
Jody Tennille Berry Morehead City, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Ana-Elizabeth Lance Brewer Dunn, NC Criminal Justice
Kristen Nicole Brown Fayetteville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Travis E. Brown, II Magna Cum Laude Asheville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Walter R. Brown Fayetteville, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
William Dean Bunce, III Apex, NC Political Science
Ja’Unn Lamonta Caldwell Fayetteville, NC Criminal Justice
Christian C. Chrietzberg Simulation and Game Design
Megan Savannah Clark Cum Laude Granite Falls, NC Arts Administration
Lauren Alexis Conway Winterville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Makayla Marion Cook Magna Cum Laude Fayetteville, NC Communication
Jordan Denise Davis Summa Cum Laude Marion, NC Anthropology
Samara Monêt Demary Cum Laude Wake Forest, NC English
Bailey Elizabeth Ellison New Bern, NC Biology
Jissely Estrella Paterson, NJ Psychology
Anne Elyse Evans Bluffton, SC Communication
Nicholas J. Falso Cum Laude Charles Town, WV Environmental Studies
Katherine Lynn Fox Raleigh, NC English
Levi Corbin Fraleigh Knightdale, NC Psychology
Halle Ann French Creedmoor, NC Criminal Justice
Alorra Dennin Frombach Creedmoor, NC Psychology
William David Gay, III Summa Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Simulation and Game Design
Quentin Justin Germain Cary, NC Simulation and Game Design
Libby Hannah Giles Gilford, NH Psychology
Sarah Elaine Golden Summa Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Education
Kevin David Gonzalez Miami Gardens, FL Psychology
Rachel Anne Gorrell Summa Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Education
Smith Mitchell Gupton Youngsville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Katelen Hankins Fayetteville, NC Theatre
Mary Margaret Hanna Cum Laude Sanford, NC English
Kyra Brooke Harrison Fuquay-Varina, NC Communication
Jeremiah Leon Hart Fayetteville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Rawan Ehab Hassan Raleigh, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Benjamin James Heacox Summa Cum Laude Rocky Mount, NC Pre-Law
Michael Douglas Hernandez Garcia Salisbury, NC Criminal Justice
Graham Hardison Hill Kinston, NC Communication
Haley Lynn Hinton Swansboro, NC Criminal Justice
Chandler John Hughes Fayetteville, NC Environmental Studies
Colton Reid Jackson Jacksonville, NC Criminal Justice
Juliana M. Jaynes Holly Springs, NC Psychology
Stephen Edward Johnson Summa Cum Laude New Canaan, CT Education
Tanaisha Monae Jones Magna Cum Laude Holly Springs, NC Education
Christian Heath Langley Greenville, NC History
Colin Tyler Lay Raleigh, NC Psychology
Zaria Rene Lendore Brooklyn, NY Pre-Law
Abigail L. Liles Summa Cum Laude Worcester, MA Simulation and Game Design
Tanner Shay Lowe Summa Cum Laude New Castle, IN Psychology
Nicole Angel Lyons Durham, NC Education
Emily Rose Maczko Binghamton, NY Education
Kimberly Renee McClain-Coleman Magna Cum Laude Fuquay-Varina, NC Education
Brett Edward Vincent McIntyre Cum Laude Harrisburg, PA History
Taylor Reid McKeel Roanoke Rapids, NC Pre-Law
Matthew Kinley Merino Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Simulation and Game Design
Shawntez Monique Mickens Winston-Salem, NC Criminal Justice
Jordan Lynn Miller Summa Cum Laude Lexington, SC Anthropology
Victoria Lonette Mims Durham, NC Communication
Turner Arden Mitchiner Garner, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
James Brent Montgomery, II Hendersonville, NC Biology
Ann Slott Moore Burlington, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Virginia Louise Nelson Jacksonville, NC Anthropology
Jake Thomas Norris Wake Forest, NC Criminal Justice
Phoenicia Y. Oliver Psychology
Rafael Ortega, Jr. Summa Cum Laude Bunn, NC Criminal Justice
Juan Carlos Pleitez Lenoir, NC Political Science
Michelle Porizkova Little Egg Harbor, NJ English
Emily Louise Puckett Summa Cum Laude Oxford, NC Education
Tyheim Fritzgerald Purdie Lumber Bridge, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Brian Steven Rivera-Segura Raleigh, NC Biology
Jordan Nicole Rogers Magna Cum Laude Mebane, NC Criminal Justice
Grayson Genell Rose Cum Laude Wake Forest, NC Political Science
Allison McKenna Schaper Summa Cum Laude Forest Grove, OR Criminal Justice
Taylor Marie Schramm Palmyra, IL Psychology
William Sullivan Shafer Magna Cum Laude Wilmington, NC Political Science
Tia Lisa Silva Summa Cum Laude Litchfield Park, AZ Pre-Law
Hannah Lynn Slone Deerfield Beach, FL Biology
Tucker Attila Soltesz Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Heather Margaret Spataro Summa Cum Laude Apex, NC Simulation and Game Design
Dale Wayne Spencer, Jr. Apex, NC Simulation and Game Design
Samuel Humberto Suazo-Carbajal Swansboro, NC Communication
Shauna Marie Taylor Clayton, NC Criminal Justice
Shannon Isaiah Thomas Spartanburg, SC Strategic Communication
Christina Marie Valentic Knightdale, NC Criminal Justice
Kristian Tyler West Clinton, MD Simulation and Game Design
Nichele Renee Whitaker Enfield, NC Psychology
Jasmine Alicia Wilkins Fayetteville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Shelby Elisabeth Wolfe Cherokee, NC Criminal Justice
Brittany Alexis Wortman Stafford, VA Anthropology

Candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

Emily Claire Freer Summa Cum Laude Wendell, NC Musical Theatre
Mary Margaret Hanna Cum Laude Sanford, NC Musical Theatre
Davyous Xavier Melvin Jacksonville, NC Musical Theatre
Marerika Fayeth Monroe Winston-Salem, NC Musical Theatre
Matthew D. Monroe Winston-Salem, NC Musical Theatre
Alexa Mackenzie Parker Dunn, NC Musical Theatre

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science Degree

Jose Ismael Aguirre Sanford, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Ahmad Madhat AlSaleh Amman, Jordan Business Administration
Marcus Isaiah Baker Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Tabitha Rosamary Barnes Raeford, NC Biology
Parker Michael Beebe Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Sarah P. Biswas Nairobi, Kenya Business Administration
Brandon Douglas Camilo Wake Forest, NC Business Administration
Lauryn Lillian Cross Urbana, IL Exercise and Sport Science
Alyssa Charmae Crowder Raleigh, NC Business Analytics
Isaiah Jamil Davis Raleigh, NC Biology
Robert Shelton Davis Raleigh, NC Biology
Alexander James Dittmer Raleigh, NC Business Analytics
Betelehem S. Edea Holly Springs, NC Business Administration
Dillon E. Garbrandt Summa Cum Laude Rocky Mount, NC Biology
Angela Kathleen Green Clayton, NC Business Administration
Jamiya L. Hargraves Cary, NC Marketing
Jackson Roy Jessup Mechanicsville , VA Business Administration
D’Aysha Renae Jones Raleigh, NC Biology
Ashby Powell King Magna Cum Laude Kill Devil Hills, NC Biology
Bailey Nicole Lambertson Cum Laude Snow Hill, MD Biology
Amanda Leigh Lane Cameron, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Peter Lawrence Spring Lake, NC Business Administration
Richard Lopez-Hernandez Youngsville, NC Business Administration
Chanraksmey Loun Business Administration
Alyssa Maria Martinez Beaufort, SC Biology
Ethan Connor McSwain Clayton, NC Business Analytics
Kyle Drew Moore Magna Cum Laude Charlotte, NC Business Administration
Leilani H.N. Nguyen Cum Laude Binghamton, NY Biology
Matthew Joseph Piper Business Administration
Nadia Janai Pittman Norfolk, VA Exercise and Sport Science
Ivan Ponce Clinton, NC Business Administration
Christopher Donald Resta Business Administration
Jacari Ashwani Riggins Miramar, FL Exercise and Sport Science
Kriss L. Rodgers Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Derek William Roy Fuquay-Varina, NC Business Administration
Dallas Antonio Russell Charlotte, NC Biology
Ryan Eugene Sabroski Cum Laude Eagle River, AK Marketing
Bloody Samlouius Port-au-Prince, Haiti Marketing
Nathan Ian Seery Summa Cum Laude Maryville, TN Business Analytics
Austin Everett Skipper Wilmington, NC Business Administration
Candice Marie Smith Roanoke Rapids, NC Biology
Jacob Brian Smith Mooresville, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Ryan James Spear Wake Forest, NC Business Administration
Edward John Spowart Morrisville, NC Business Administration
Shreyansh Srivastava Lucknow, India Business Administration
Ralph Davis Stroud, III Goldsboro, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Katelynn E. Thompson Cum Laude Hickory, NC Biology
Nademe Wael Tokhli Swansboro, NC Business Administration
Estefania Tremul Summa Cum Laude Lecheria, Venezula Exercise and Sport Science
Donolly Leonard Tyrell, Jr. Baltimore, MD Business Analytics
Tyler James Vaughn Dunn, NC Business Administration
Arthur Robert Vernooij Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Rebekah Nicole Walker Cum Laude Garner, NC Business Administration
Ti’quan R. Whitmore Mebane, NC Business Administration
Sterling Alexander Wilburn Raleigh, NC Criminal Justice

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Tara Lynn Bowman Fort Plain, NY Nursing
Barbara Brown Cox Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Nursing
Necole D. Rasavong Raleigh, NC Nursing
Amy Kathryn Stevens Johnstown, PA Nursing
Buffy Jo Tharpe Louisburg, NC Nursing
Mandu Utibe Udoh Raleigh, NC Nursing


The University Seal was updated in 2011 to reflect the institution’s new name, William Peace University, and to represent its rich history. In 1930, Peace Institute was renamed Peace, A Junior College for Women, and in 1943, renamed Peace College. In 2011, the administration and Trustees announced the institution would transition from a single-gender institution into a fully co-educational school. The new name was chosen in honor of William Peace, founder of and original benefactor. Throughout its history, Peace’s motto has been “Esse Quam Videri”—“To be, rather than to seem”—which is also the State of North Carolina’s motto, adopted in 1893.

William Peace University official seal


As early as the twelfth century, academic institutions carried ceremonial maces indicating that the university’s academic integrity was protected by God and all truth that flowed from God. The William Peace University Mace symbolizes academic authority and is carried in all academic processions, including Academic Convocation, Commencement, Academic Awards Day, and other formal University ceremonies. The William Peace University Mace was presented as a gift and lasting legacy from the graduating Class of 2016 during Class Day and in honor of the occasion of the Installation of Dr. Brian C. Ralph, 11th President of William Peace University. The design of the mace incorporates elements of the University seal on one side and the seal of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on the other side. A cross and a torch are imposed on the diamond background and represent Christianity and knowledge. On the banner beneath the torch and cross is the date 1857, the founding of the Peace Institute. The elements of the cross and torch are further displayed in the gold surrounds that sit atop the staff. The mace bearer is typically the Faculty Moderator who wears a medallion bearing the seal of the University. When not in use, the Mace is displayed in Main Parlor alongside the Peace College Mace, first used in 1999. A new display case was constructed in April 2016 to honor the importance of these two symbols of our academic history.


William Peace University Marshals are those students who have achieved the highest academic standing among their peers. 

2022 University Marshals

Sophomore Marshals:

Courtney Arnold, ‘24

Emmarose Boylan, ‘24

Junior Marshals:

Kelsey Bierbauer, ‘24

Shelby Cooper, ‘23

Katey Doyle, ‘23

Connor Phillips, ‘23


William Peace University’s honorary doctoral degree was established as the highest academic award in 2011 by former WPU President Dr. Debra M. Townsley and the University’s Board of Trustees. 

Previous Recipients

Elizabeth Averill Harkey ’38 (2011)

Trent Ragland, Jr. (2011)*

Rep. Deborah K. Ross (2011)

William G. Ross (2011)*

Josephine Beatty Chadwick ’43 (2012) 

Hon. Burley B. Mitchell (2012)

Harvey A. Schmitt (2012)

Erskine Bowles (2013)

Jacquelin Quesenberry Jeutter ’50 (2013)* 

Fay Jackson Anderson ’54 (2014)

Nancy L. McFarlane (2014)

Annie L. Wilkerson, M.D. (2014)*

Sara Jo Allen Manning ’58 ’60 (2015)

Assad Meymandi, M.D. (2015) 

Debra M. Townsley, Ph.D. (2015)

Lynn Kendrick Erdman ’75 (2016) 

Sally Buckner (2017)*

James F. Goodmon (2017) 

Jamie Valvano (2018)

Machelle Sanders (2019) 

Mitchell Silver (2020)

Robert A. Ingram (2021)

Sepi Saidi (2022)


William Peace University Alma Mater

In the heart of Carolina,

’Neath its skies of blue,

Stands our noble Alma Mater,

Glorious to view.

Classic in her broad proportions,

Looks she proudly down

Reared against the arch of heaven,

With the stars for crown.


Lift the chorus, speed it onward; Let it never cease;

Hail to thee, our Alma Mater; Hail, all hail, to Peace!

Words by Miss Martha McCorkle and Miss Nannie Carrington Dinwiddie, Peace Institute Instructor and daughter of James Dinwiddie, 2nd president, 1890–1907.

  • University Faculty 2022
    Mohamdod Alzer, M.A., Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science

    Corinne Andersen, Ph.D., Professor of English

    Jennifer Blush, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology

    Amanda Bock, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education

    Lisa Bonner, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

    Rhonda Brown, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

    Rev. R. Lee Carter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religion and William C. Bennett Chaplain

    Roger Christman, M.Ed., Associate Professor of Communication and Simulation and Game Design 

    Brandon Crews, M.A.D., Assistant Professor of Simulation and Game Design

    Charles Duncan, Ph.D., Professor of English

    Heidi Gailor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business

    Matthew Hodge, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Theatre and Musical Theatre

    Sandra Holsonback, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Business

    Caleb Husmann, D.A., Assistant Professor of Political Science

    Erica Jastrow, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Nursing

    Elizabeth Kusko, D.A., Associate Professor of Political Science

    Eliza Laskowski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English

    Hrvoje Lusic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry

    Marti Maguire, M.A., Assistant Professor of Communication

    Scott McElreath, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy

    Kayce Meginnis-Payne, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology

    Vincent Melomo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology

    Patrick Myer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

    Wade Newhouse, Ph.D., Professor of English

    Carolyn Nye, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business

    Katherine Otis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History

    Margaret Polt, M.B.A., Assistant Professor of Business

    Amy Pridgen, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Theatre and Musical Theatre

    Ruth Reece, M.A., Assistant Professor of Mathematics

    Adair Robertson, M.S., Associate Professor of Mathematics

    Jennifer Russell, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education

    Summer Sides, M.S., Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science

    Eugenia Treadwell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication

    Robin Vincent, M.Ed., Associate  Professor of Education

    Michelle Wang, M.B.A., Assistant Professor of Business

    Betty Witcher, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

  • Faculty and Staff Emeriti
    Emilie Patton de Luca, Ph.D., French

    David Frazier, Ph.D., President Emeritus

    Valerie G. Hall, Ph.D., History

    Korrel Kanoy, Ph.D., Psychology

    Archie Ritchie, M.S., Mathematics

    Laura G. Vick, Ph.D., Anthropology

  • Academic Regalia
    The pomp and pageantry of the William Peace University academic ceremonies grow out of a rich tradition of scholarship and religion. The bagpipes that herald the academic procession have their origins in the High Scottish Presbyterian Church ritual in which honored individuals are piped into an arena. The wearing of colorful academic apparel at academic convocations and commencement ceremonies serves as a reminder of our union with an academic heritage whose ceremonial tradition dates from the medieval university. William Peace University graduates wear gowns of Peace Green with hoods of the same color trimmed in white.

    Faculty wear the regalia of the institution that conferred their highest degree. The doctoral gowns are usually faced with black velvet, although the color of the velvet may vary according to the field of study. Hoods, which differ in length according to the level of the degree held, are lined with the official colors of the university or college that conferred the degree, usually with one color forming a chevron pattern over the other.  Faculty hoods are edged and bound with velvet in the color appropriate to the field of study. The colors in the hoods and gowns of faculty and administrators represent the following fields in which degrees were earned:

    Apricot: Nursing

    Brown: Fine Arts

    Citron: Social Work

    Crimson: Journalism

    Dark Blue: Philosophy

    Golden Yellow: Science

    Green: Medicine

    Lemon Yellow: Library Science Light Blue: Education

    Orange: Engineering

    Peacock Blue: Public Administration

    Pink: Music

    Purple: Law

    Sage Green: Physical Education

    Salmon Pink: Public Health

    Scarlet: Theology

    Yellow Brown: Commerce, Business, Accountancy

    White: Arts, Letters, Humanities