Francis Marion University awarded degrees to 309 new graduates at its fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 16.
The degrees included 231 baccalaureate degrees, and 78 graduate degrees.
Honorary doctorates of Humanities were conferred on Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s state president for South Carolina operations; and South Carolina Family Court bench judge Melissa J. Buckhannon, an FMU alum (‘91). Ghartey-Tagoe, a native of Ghana, served as the commencement speaker.
Ghartey-Tagoe, whose own professional and academic career contained many ups and downs, told the newly minted graduates that, above all, they should avoid having “a victim mentality.
“So what do you do when adversity strikes … when it comes knocking on your door?” Ghartey-Tagoe asked the audience of almost 3,000. “Stay calm. Be poised… Have hope. Be thankful for you do have. Have faith. Understand your mission and create a plan to accomplish it. And persist until you break through. You will get through it.”
FMU President Dr. Fred Carter told grads during his welcoming remarks that they’ll never receive more advice in their lives than at their collegiate graduation. Make the most of that, Carter said. And don’t hesitate to continue to seek advice in the future, especially from FMU faculty members who relish the chance to assist former students.
Ghartey-Tagoe assumed his current position with Duke Energy in 2017 where he is responsible for maintaining the financial performance of Duke Energy’s electric utilities in South Carolina and managing community, state and local affairs.
Judge Melissa J. Buckhannon was elected to the South Carolina Family Court Bench
in 2014. Her election by the South Carolina Legislature followed a 19-year career as a lawyer in Horry County. While practicing law, Buckhannon served on a number of professional boards and in various volunteer posts related to the law.
Buckhannon also served on the Francis Marion University Board of Trustees from 1998 through 2013.