Legendary former College of Charleston basketball coach John Kresse will be the commencement speaker at the College’s winter graduation ceremony on Dec 19, 2015.
Commencement will be held in the College of Charleston’s TD Arena at 301 Meeting St. The program will begin at 2 p.m, with doors opening at 12:30 p.m.
Honorary degrees will be granted to Kresse as well as longtime College administrator Sue Sommer-Kresse and philanthropist Betty Beatty.
John Kresse spent 38 years coaching basketball. His 23 years as head coach at the College of Charleston established him as one of the top coaches in the country and brought national recognition to the College. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Johns University, Kresse began his coaching career as a high school coach and teacher. One year later, his college coach asked him to return to his alma mater, where he served as assistant coach for 11 years. He also served as an assistant coach and director of player personnel for the New York Nets for three years. Kresse was named head coach at the College of Charleston in 1979, beginning his highly successful tenure of record-setting achievements.
Kresse’s overall record at the College is 560 wins and 143 losses with an average of 24 wins per season. His winning percentage of .797 is the 11th highest in all NCAA divisions. As an NCAA Division 1 Coach he had 258 wins and 64 losses, a percentage of .801 that ranks him 5th highest in NCAA Division I history. Kresse ranks second among NCAA Division I coaches for reaching 500 wins the fastest.
Sue Sommer-Kresse, wife of John Kresse, is a dedicated administrator who has enjoyed an extensive career in higher education with more than 35 years of service to the College of Charleston and the surrounding community.
She joined the College of Charleston faculty in 1980, serving as the dean of continuing education and professional services. She was then appointed the inaugural vice president for enrollment management, a position she held for 15 years. Sommer-Kresse has since held a variety of positions within the College of Charleston, including executive vice president for institutional advancement, executive director of the College of Charleston Foundation, dean of the graduate school, and vice president for strategic planning. She also served as acting dean of the North Campus and executive director of the Lowcountry Graduate Center.
Betty Beatty and her late husband, commercial real estate industry pioneer Guy Beatty, are the parents of Susi Beatty ’86 and the grandparents of Brian Beatty ’06. The Beatty family has been exceptionally good to the College over the years.
Betty Beatty assumed the position of chairwoman of the board of The Beatty Companies following Guy Beatty’s death in 2013. She is also secretary of the Betty L. Beatty and Guy E. Beatty Foundation, which supports the couple’s education, health and human services philanthropic priorities.
In 2001, Betty and Guy Beatty made the lead gift to help enable the construction of the Beatty Center which opened its doors in 2007, and today is home to over 2,000 business students and 75 faculty members. They also established, and Betty continues to support, the Guy E. Beatty Scholarship Fund which has benefitted 80 students, known as “The Beatty Bunch” since 1997. The Beatty scholarships are made available on a competitive basis to incoming freshmen who express their interest in a business major. Each Beatty Scholarship recipient can receive the scholarship throughout their four years at the College.
In 2011, Guy and Betty were honored as inaugural inductees on the School of Business Wall of Honor.