Three College of Charleston alumni will be the featured speakers during the College’s Spring Commencement ceremonies.
More than 2,100 students are expected to receive degrees during the three ceremonies in the Cistern Yard on May 12 and 13, 2017. This year’s grads will also get to hear the wisdom of three speakers who were in their shoes in graduations past.
This year’s commencement speakers are:
Dr. Sam Stafford III ’68
Stafford, a physician and former president of the CofC Alumni Association, will speak at the pre-medical graduation ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, May 12.
After graduating from the College in one of the only rained-out commencement ceremonies since they began being held in the Cistern Yard, Stafford earned his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina. He served in the Navy as a physician for more than 20 years and is currently a partner at Mount Pleasant Dermatology.
Stafford has remained involved at the College throughout his career and received the Alumni Award of Honor in 2014, the College of Charleston Alumni Association’s highest honor.
Elizabeth Colbert-Busch ’79
Colbert-Busch, the director of business development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, will speak at the ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13.
She graduated from the College as a double major in fine arts and business administration and went on to found Charleston Women in International Trade. She’s a former member of the College of Charleston School of Business Alumni Advisory Board and is currently serving on the Alumni Association Board and the School of the Arts Advisory Council. Colbert-Busch received the Woman of the Year Award in 2011 from Charleston Women in International Trade.
She also ran for the U.S. House seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott in 2013 and is the sister of “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.
John E. Alessi ’98
Alessi, the co-founder and chief financial officer for Whip It Inventions, will speak at the ceremony at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 13.
Alessi was a double major in studio arts and communication at the College and was named the 2011 Alumnus of the Year by the Alumni Association. His company launched a multimillion-dollar line of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
He’s also the vice president of sales and director of product development for the skincare line Shinto Clinical.
Honorary degrees will also be presented to:
- Mr. and Mrs. Harry (Reba Kinne) Huge, Harry and Reba Huge Foundation
- Mr. Kenneth “Mace” Brown, certified financial consultant and underwriter
- Dr. Edward L. Thomas, Jr. ’76, dentistry, posthumously
- Mr. James L. Felder, author and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives