Saturday, May 1, 2010

USCB awards degrees amid pomp, circumstance

Published Friday, April 30, 2010

Retired developer receives honorary degree
Joseph B. Fraser Jr., business leader, environmental preservationist and public servant, received an honorary doctoral degree at Friday's University of South Carolina Beaufort commencement.
USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw said Fraser pioneered conservation-minded communities that incorporated wildlife preserves and protected green space. He helped keep the Heritage Classic golf tournament alive in the 1980s and helped form the Heritage Classic Foundation.
In the school's 50th year, leaders of the University of South Carolina Beaufort traced the community's more than 200-year history of higher education that began with Beaufort College.

At Friday's graduation ceremony, the 222 members of USCB's class of 2010 -- the university's largest graduating class yet -- recalled the changes they saw.

Graduate Ben Lipscomb said the library didn't exist when he started at USCB. There weren't any athletics programs, either. Or the Sand Sharks mascot.

"There are a lot more people now," Lipscomb said. "Watching it grow was pretty neat."

"When I first got there, there was no student center," graduate Chelsia Hopkins said. "And now, we have the cafeteria and the gym and the student lounge. There have been a lot of great changes I've seen."

This year's commencement ceremony marked the first time Chancellor Jane Upshaw wore a traditional chancellor's medallion, after the Trustees of the College of Beaufort donated it to the university in April.

Even the language in the diploma changed.

"The diplomas the class of 2010 receives will recognize for the first time -- officially -- USCB's independent accreditation as a baccalaureate campus," Harris Pastides, president of USC, told the graduates.

Upshaw thanked the graduates for their contributions to the university's growth.

"Through your accomplishments, you have built USCB's reputation in our region and our state," she said.

Jonathan Green, acclaimed artist and Gullah conservationist, delivered the commencement address and encouraged the graduates to look to their country's past to understand the culture of the world they live in.

He spoke about the African farmers who brought skills to South Carolina's rice-growing region and made rice one of the most profitable industries in early America. Rice brought people together and still can, said Green, who was born in Gardens Corner.

"I want you to understand what a magnificent culture we are, where we came from, who we are," Green said. "... You are a product of this culture, regardless of your color, your religion. You are the future of this culture."

The above article is from the Island Packet.

I am very proud of my father and what he has done for this community for over fifty five years, from the days as a logger, a home builder, a land planner, a philanthropy as Chairman of the Heritage Classic Foundation.

I would like to express my thanks to the USC board for bestowing the honorary degree to my father, Joseph B Fraser.

For all the residents of Beaufort and Jasper Counties I encourage you to get behind what USCB is doing. Chancel Jane Upshaw is doing a great job at USCB and it will be an integral part of our economic growth, and diversity in the types of companies that locate in Beaufort & Jasper Counties.

Charlie B Fraser copyright 2010