Commencement Program 2023

PROGRAM

Processional
ROTC Color Guard

Traditional Bagpipe Marches
Adrian McNeil and John Starke

“Pomp and Circumstance” (Edward Elgar)
Amalgam Brass

National Anthem*
Oliver Feeney ’25

Invocation*
Rev. Harold Briscoe, D.Min., William C. Bennett Chaplain

Welcome Remarks
Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., President

Award Recognitions
Lynda Szymanski, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs

Traditional Undergraduate Class Speaker
Victoria Jade Guloy-Finklea ’23

School of Professional Studies Class Speaker
Larissa Brito ’23 

Commencement Speaker
Donald Thompson, Founder & CEO of The Diversity Movement

Honorary Degree Candidates
Donald Thompson; Garrett Briggs, Ph.D.; S. David Frazier, Ph.D.;Rev. Ed McLeod, D.Min.

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. 

Benediction*
Rev. Harold Briscoe, D.Min.

Recessional*
Amalgam Brass

William Peace University Alma Mater*
Daisy Byungura ’26

*Audience please stand if able. 

2023 Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Donald Thompson is a globally respected and sought-after business leader with a proven track record of success in growing firms. As a CEO, speaker, investor, advisor, entrepreneur, and executive coach, Thompson brings a wealth of experience and expertise to any organization. As a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) and CEO & Co-founder of The Diversity Movement, he is passionate about driving cultural transformation and delivering solid returns for employees and shareholders. Under his leadership, The Diversity Movement has earned numerous accolades, including Inc. Magazine’s 2021 Best in Business List in DE&I Advocacy and Fast Company’s 2022 “world-changing ideas.” In addition, Thompson is a three-time Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies winner, named to the Forbes Next 1000 List, and the Business North Carolina Power 100 List. 

He serves on 12 boards across various industries, including marketing, health, and finance. Thompson is also the author of the book Underestimated and hosts the podcast “High Octane Leadership in an Empathetic World,” both of which provide valuable insights for business leaders. With his competitive learning mindset, Thompson delivers actionable insights and is the perfect partner for anyone looking to take their business to the next level. 

Donald Thompson

Donald Thompson 

2023 Honorary Degree Recipients

Garrett Briggs, Ph.D.

Garrett Briggs, left, and Brian C. Ralph, right

Garrett Briggs, the eighth President of William Peace University (WPU), formerly Peace College, passed away on December 31, 2022. The day also marked his 88th birthday. Briggs served the university from 1988 until 1998, a term recounted fondly by the students who attended during his term. Under Briggs’ leadership, the College’s endowment nearly doubled, and the College went from a two to four-year program that offered five separate baccalaureate degrees. Briggs’ goal for WPU was to make the College more visible in the community, describing it as “one of Raleigh’s most closely guarded secrets.” 

Briggs previously worked as dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Additionally, Briggs served as a member of the geology faculty at Tulane University in 1965 and head of the geology department, and associate dean of the University of Tennessee’s College of Liberal Arts in 1968.

A Dallas, Texas native, Briggs earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. He married Susan Lynn Walters in 1957, and the couple has three sons and a daughter – Douglas Garrett Briggs, James Tulane Briggs, Paul Crenshaw Briggs, and Margaret “Molly” Briggs Thompson. Their daughter, Molly, is a 1992 graduate of Peace College.

S. David Frazier, Ph.D.

President Emeritus S. David Frazier

David Frazier served as William Peace University’s seventh president (then Peace College) from 1965 to 1988. During his long tenure, Frazier helped build the College’s academic and athletic programs. By the end of his service as president, the college had the highest Scholastic Aptitude Test scores among the country’s two-year colleges. The size of the downtown campus was almost doubled, seven buildings were constructed, and existing buildings were all renovated and air-conditioned. Frazier also enhanced the College’s endowment by approximately $14 million and established endowments to support the library, faculty development, merit and work scholarships, visiting scholars, and the concert and lecture series. 

Frazier actively participated in student-athlete recruitment and attended most athletics events. His legacy remains active today with the annual presentation of the Frazier Cup to the student who best exemplifies the characteristics of the term student-athlete. Frazier was inducted into the Peace College Athletics Hall of Fame on May 16, 2009. S. David Frazier Hall was dedicated to Frazier in 1992.

After his tenure in Raleigh, Frazier became a Campaign Coordinator for Presbyterian Homes in NC and was an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln Memorial University. Frazier is listed in Who’s Who in American Education, was named to the “Outstanding Young Men of America,” and has served on dozens of boards. Frazier and his late wife, Jean, have two grown children.

Frazier graduated in 1953 from Carson-Newman College (B.A.), in 1956 from the University of Tennessee (M.S.), and in 1962 from Florida State University (Ph.D.), where he was also a University Fellow. He served in the U.S. Army (1953-1955) before becoming a counselor and teacher in Jacksonville, FL (1956-1958). 

Ed McLeod, D.Min.

Rev. Dr. Ed McLeodEd McLeod has been Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church since August 2004. Before his move to Raleigh, he served three churches in South Carolina: Columbia, Greer, and Sumter. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond. McLeod and his wife Jenny have two children and a grandson. They enjoy movies, travel, and dining out. McLeod’s golf game is a work in progress, and his other hobbies range from crossword puzzles to triathlons. A native North Carolinian, McLeod is grateful for the privilege of serving this congregation in the heart of the Capital City. Building upon a wonderful legacy that stretches back almost 200 years, his vision for First Presbyterian Church is that it will be a community that worships joyfully, serves gladly, and seeks in all we do to glorify God.

Reverend Dr. Ed McLeod is retiring from his post as the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh and from his role as a Trustee here at the University. He has served this great institution for 19 years. His work included serving as Vice Chair of the Board, on a Board organizational committee, the Presidential Search Committee, and the Advancement Committee. He is our longest-tenured Trustee, and he will be missed.

2023 Awards

The Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award

The Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award for academic achievement was established in 1969 in memory of 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.

Shelby Noel Cooper, Jr., B.A., Education

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

Kiera Renee Williams, B.S. Biology 

School of Professional Studies Outstanding Graduate

Dalton Cain Batten, B.A. Strategic Communication 

McCormick Distinguished Teaching Award

McCormick Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes a full-time faculty member with the characteristics of a master teacher and scholar, a 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.  

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

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.

First-Year Advisor: Ruth Reece, M.A., Assistant Professor of Mathematics 

Major Advisor: Betty Witcher, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Department Chair of Psychology and Business

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 

Karey Wall, M.A. Instructor of Anthropology 

School of Professional Studies Recipient

Lisa Llewellyn, M.S.A., Instructor of Education

2023 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’s YouTube channel. 

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

Mallard’s fondest memories of her time at WPU 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.

Mallard and her husband, Matt, have one daughter and son-in-law who live in Savannah, GA with their first granddaughter. 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

2023 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 2023 Traditional Undergraduate Student Speaker

Victoria Guloy-Finklea, B.S. Biology

Class of 2023 School of Professional Studies Student Speaker

Larissa Brito, B.A., Strategic Communication 

2023 Graduates

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts Degree

Brian Joshua Martinez Aguilar Coral Springs, FL Theatre
Anooshay Ahmad Lahore, Pakistan Biology
Argentina Alvarez-Molina McAllen, TX Interdisciplinary Studies
Mitchell Mills Baddour Wilmington, NC Writing
Myla Rhyan Marie Barnes Dayton, OH Biology
Bridgette Alexiss Carrillo Cum Laude Criminal Justice
Lillian Grace Bates Wendell, NC Psychology
Dalton Cain Batten Clayton, NC Strategic Communication
Julia Cierra Benitez Franklinton, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Marquita Candice Bowen Elizabethtown, NC Psychology
Kyle Robert Brady Fuquay-Varina, NC Simulation and Game Design
Larissa Brito Raleigh, NC Strategic Communication
Marianna Lee Brown Zebulon, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Rebecca Ann Brown Wake Forest, NC Psychology
Michael Holden Bruce Summa Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Political Science
Joley Nicole Cabe State Road, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Sasha Kayla Calix The Bronx, NY Psychology
Rush Anthony Campbell Sanford, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Miles Douglas Carter Greensboro, NC Communication
Stephanie Kate Chandler Summerfield, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Dezarae Lorrain Churchill Brockport, NY Writing
Lenard Shilo Clarke Gaithersburg, MD Simulation and Game Design
Justin Tiernan Conway Fayetteville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Daniya Nicole Conyer Cary, NC Psychology
Shelby Noel Cooper Summa Cum Laude Youngsville, NC Education
Melanie Ann Corbett Zebulon, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Dylan Spencer Cross Johnsonburg, NJ Communication
Clayton Glenn Day Roxboro, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Kyra Elizabeth Delaney Fayetteville, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Kaylah Chanelle Derilus Miami, FL Simulation and Game Design
Alisha Dhar Summa Cum Laude Cary, NC Communication
Mamadou Diabi Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Criminal Justice
Taranika Powell Dobbin Raleigh, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Caroline Margaret Doyle Cary, NC Environmental Studies
Katelyn Marie Doyle Summa Cum Laude Zebulon, NC Anthropology
Kirsten Annabella Elizabeth Dunham Yorktown, VA Psychology
Nautica Aunajá Falls Gastonia, NC Criminal Justice
Zachary Jordan Gaiters Raleigh, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Lochlyn Gamble Rocky Mount, NC Communication
Andrew Stephen Gilleskie Chapel Hill, NC Criminal Justice
Fredy Audelo Gonzalez Goldsboro, NC Simulation and Game Design
Taylor Elizabeth Griffith Magna Cum Laude Gainesville, FL Sport and Fitness Studies
Aleece Clara Harmon Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Simulation and Game Design
Domingo Hernandez-Martinez Jr. Deep Run, NC Psychology
Phillip Julian Holtzclaw Charlotte, NC Criminal Justice
Kathleen Elizabeth Howe Garner, NC Simulation and Game Design
Riley Susan Jamieson Rolesville, NC Education
Gerald Alfred Jeutter III Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC English
Daniel Tyler Johnson Pfafftown, NC Environmental Studies
Shiloh Jordon Justice Raleigh, NC History
Jonathan P. Kintner Jr. Fuquay-Varina, NC Simulation and Game Design
Melanie Grace Krestalude Binghamton, NY Criminal Justice
Paris Monae Lancaster Tarboro, NC Political Science
Adam Francis Lembo Cary, NC Simulation and Game Design
Nathan Philip Lembo Summa Cum Laude Cary, NC Simulation and Game Design
Jacob Gower Liddicote Raleigh, NC Communication
Joshua Glenn Little Stoneville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Andres Felipe Lopez Santa Marta, Colombia Sport and Fitness Studies
Micheal Taylor Mansfield Sanford, NC Simulation and Game Design
Kiley Toni Paige Martinez Lake Wales, FL Criminal Justice
Benjamin Malcolm Maske Cary, NC Communication
Corbin Ethan May Cum Laude La Grange, NC Political Science
Hayley Anne McNair Summa Cum Laude Kingston, Jamaica Psychology
Megan Nicole McWilliams Wake Forest, NC Criminal Justice
Quadir D. Miller Fayetteville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Tracy Mae Mitchell Magna Cum Laude Garner, NC Education
Pamela Kannetia Mock Reidsville, NC Psychology
David Shemaar Moore Greensboro, NC Simulation and Game Design
Kuleul Josiah Moore Raleigh, NC Psychology
Abigail Faith Mosteller Lincolnton, NC Criminal Justice
Katherine Elizabeth Murphy Wade, NC Criminal Justice
Sijade Michael Nedd Newark, NJ Psychology
Austin Bradley Padgett Myrtle Beach, SC Sport and Fitness Studies
Amelia Peralta-Serrato Louisburg, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Alexis Jendya Mikelle Peterson Hendersonville, NC Criminal Justice
Connor Joseph Phillips Summa Cum Laude Benson, NC Simulation and Game Design
Aubrey Benton Pollard Benson, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Blake Garrett Privette Raleigh, NC Arts Administration
Sean Matthew Ray Jacksonville, NC Simulation and Game Design
Ninevah Monea Reddick Greenville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Patrick Thomas Rogan Norfolk, VA Sport and Fitness Studies
Dallan Antoine Russell Charlotte, NC Communication
Jordan Samone Sample North Plainfield, NJ Criminal Justice
Jovan Nathaniel Sanon Silver Spring, MD Simulation and Game Design
Emerson Grace Scollo Summa Cum Laude Dry Fork, VA Simulation and Game Design
Moriah Ann Shipman Raleigh, NC Simulation and Game Design
Todd Anthony Shorts II Raleigh, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Christopher Thomas Soden Chapel Hill, NC Environmental Studies
Alison Elisabeth Swain Lawrenceville, GA Anthropology
Anthony Rumell Tarpley Jr. Danville, VA Simulation and Game Design
Christopher Wills Tate Cary, NC Simulation and Game Design
Nakyia OnShaé Taylor Magna Cum Laude Kinston, NC Anthropology
Trenton Ray Thomas Magna Cum Laude Erwin, NC History
Lily Katherine Tollison Raleigh, NC Education
Khalil Sharod Tompkins Durham, NC Communication
Hunter Isaiah Lee Ward Clayton, NC Criminal Justice
William Brewer Warlick Wilmington, NC Pre-Law
Brianna Jordaya Washington Raleigh, NC Criminal Justice
Shane Robert Waters Durham, NC Esports and Gaming Administration
Lauren Ashley Watson Cum Laude Garner, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Jeffrey Brian Wescoat III Buxton, NC History
Ronette King Wheeler Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Education
Anya Janay Whitehurst Durham, NC Psychology
Kieron Laurence Williams Jacksonville, NC Sport and Fitness Studies
Baylee Paige Womack Winfield, WV Biology
Octavia Shakiya Wood Las Vegas,NV Biology
Dynasti Aushay Wooten Wallace, NC Psychology
Chuquel I’kem Tyshair Wright Raleigh, NC Esports and Gaming Administration
Jessica Massey Young Cum Laude Youngsville, NC Interdisciplinary Studies
Stephany Yadira Zuniga Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Psychology

Candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

Desire Nicole Lora Coral Springs, FL Musical Theatre
Zyon Raesean Ross Lincolnton, NC Musical Theatre

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science Degree

Jorge Alexander Aguilar Sabillon Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras Business Administration
Rachel Hannah Alford Bunn, NC Business Administration
Danny Daniel Alvarez-Sagastume Cary, NC Business Administration
Caylie Brianna Andrews Youngsville, NC Business Administration
Andrew Kofi Appiagyei Durham, NC Business Administration
Jason Paul Bates Morehead City, NC Business Administration
Connor James Behan Summa Cum Laude Swansboro, NC Business Administration
Philip Edward Berger III Hillsborough, NC Business Administration
Logan Ann Blackmon Cum Laude Dunn, NC Biology
Claire Marie Boaz Reidsville, NC Biology
Alec Levi Brooks Hurricane, WV Business Administration
Cameron Allen Butler Kinston, NC Business Administration
Dillon Emery Fraire Butler Fayetteville, NC Marketing
Patrick Thomas Calhoun Summa Cum Laude Wilmington, NC Marketing
Andrea Evet Cannon Aurora, NC Business Administration
Tristan Kendall Carter King, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Juan Carlos Cepeda New Bern, NC Marketing
Gerard Joesph Chamra Garner, NC Business Administration
Joel John Cherian Cary, NC Business Analytics
Peter Franklin Darden Clinton, NC Business Administration
Ryan Lee Ellington Butner, NC Business Administration
Yamila Emanuel New York, NY Biology
Alexander Hernandez Escamilla Robbins, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Taylor Elizabeth Ferguson Cum Laude Louisburg, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Logan Kenneth Flowers Cum Laude Wake Forest, NC Biology
Nancy Joanne Gamewell Faith, NC Biology
Isabella Raine Greene Morehead City, NC Biology
Victoria Jade Guloy-Finklea Downers Grove, IL Biology
Devantez Jevon Hall Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Briana Simmone Harris Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Biology
Daniel Hidalgo Holly Springs, NC Marketing
Peyton Oliver Howard La Grange, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Joshua Lavet Hubert Charlotte, NC Marketing
Cody Lee Ingalls Cum Laude Chocowinity, NC Business Administration
Darius Jackson Charlotte, NC Business Analytics
Yata Jobe Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Biology
Gabrielle Nikole Jones Magna Cum Laude Hope Mills, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Grant Everett Jones Greenville, NC Business Analytics
Makenzie Alexis Jones Hope Mills, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Jaclyn Marie Jordan Castle Hayne, NC Business Administration
Jordan Earl Kale Middlesex, NC Business Administration
Richard Samuel Kaup Magna Cum Laude Greenville, SC Exercise and Sport Science
Brett James Kemp Wilmington, NC Business Administration
Laura Lee Langer Cum Laude Cary, NC Biology
Taylor Lyn Lawson Yorktown, VA Business Administration
Alba Lorenza Lemus Raleigh, NC Marketing
Stephen Paul Lundberg III New Bern, NC Business Administration
Cassidy Reneé Maitland Cum Laude Chesterfield, VA Biology
Lillie Ann Maness Morehead City, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Philip Mark McClam Raleigh, NC Business Administration
Jenna Rae Moebs Cary, NC Marketing
Olivia Jane Moore Clayton, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Peter Riely Murray Cum Laude Wilmington, NC Business Administration
Charlene Linette Neighbors Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Marketing
Ha Ngoc Thanh Nguyen Magna Cum Laude Raleigh, NC Marketing
Lindsey Doan Nguyen Summa Cum Laude Morehead City, NC Business Administration
Dara Catherine Orr Fuquay-Varina, NC Business Administration
Christopher Jalen Owens Clinton, NC Business Administration
Austin Bradley Padgett Myrtle Beach, SC Business Administration
Mary Abigail Papale Magna Cum Laude Lexington, NC Biology
Garrett Payne Phillips Holly Springs, NC Business Administration
Peyton D. Richards Benson, NC Business Administration
Anna Grace Roman Wake Forest, NC Biology
Sean Alexander Roseborough Rio Rancho, NM Business Administration
Nicola Justine Saunders Kansas City, KS Business Analytics
Brendan Gerard Shea Fayetteville, NC Business Administration
Darren Robert Shelp Cherry Point, NC Criminal Justice
Asher Robert Starliper Hagerstown, MD Business Administration
Anna Caroline Suggs Tabor City, NC Exercise and Sport Science
Andrew Joseph Tan Concord, NC Marketing
Bradlee J. Tierson Swansboro, NC Business Administration
Alfonso Turcios Jr. Brentwood, NY Business Administration
Ashton Reid Tyndall Clinton, NC Business Administration
Drew Evan Von Werne Garner, NC Business Administration
Landon Todd Warrick Wake Forest, NC Business Administration
Jordan Destiny Hamlin Williams White Plains, NY Business Administration
Kiera Renee Williams Cum Laude High Point, NC Biology
Brooke Grace Williamson Fuquay-Varina, NC Business Administration
Michael Kevin York Statesville, NC Business Administration

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Claudetta R. Fields Franklinton, NC Nursing
Eda Varinca Jones Summa Cum Laude Fuquay-Varina, NC Nursing
Jin Hee Kim Daejeon, South Korea Nursing

UNIVERSITY SEAL

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

UNIVERSITY MACE

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.

UNIVERSITY MARSHALS

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

2023 University Marshals

Sophomore Marshals:

Adanya Day ’25
Jamie Luersen ’24
Megan McAnany ’25
Alyssa Poteat ’25
Matthijs Van Staalduinen ’25

Junior Marshals:

Emmarose Boylan ’24
Patrick Buckler ’25
Vivian Camplin ’25
Kayleigh Griffith-Teemer ’25
Mary Langer ’25
Madeline Simpson ’24

THE HONORARY DOCTORAL DEGREE

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)

Donald Thompson (2023) 

Garrett Briggs (2023)*

David Frazier (2023)

Edward McLeod (2023)

*Deceased 

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.

Chorus

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 2023
    Corinne Andersen, Ph.D., Professor of English

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

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

    Lisa Bonner, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

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

    Steven Capehart, M.S., Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science

    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

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

    Anna Humphrey, M.A.Ed., Assistant Professor of Mathematics

    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., Associate 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

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

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

    Eric Schaffer, M.A., 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

    J. Adair Robertson, 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