This year more than 400 undergraduate and 60 graduate students are expected to receive their degrees at winter commencement on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at 2 p.m.

Commencement will be held in the College of Charleston’s TD Arena at 301 Meeting St. Each graduate will receive 10 tickets for guests through their CofC email approximately one week prior to the ceremony. For guests who are unable to attend the ceremony, live video of the event will be broadcast on the College’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

John Rashford

John Rashford

John H. Rashford, professor emeritus of anthropology, did his undergraduate studies at Friends World College, where he had the opportunity to spend three and a half years traveling and studying around the world with significant stops in Mexico, Sweden, Austria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India, Thailand and Japan. He received his doctoral degree in anthropology from the City University of New York, where his research interest was primarily in the area of ethnobotany. His doctoral dissertation explored the influence of small-farmer intercropping on the politics, history and cultural development of Jamaica. He retired in 2018 after 36 years of teaching at the College of Charleston. He is widely regarded as the expert on the dispersal and cultural importance of the baobab tree in the Americas, and he has also published articles on the baobab in Africa, India and Japan. His most recent book is titled Baobab: The Hadza of Tanzania and the Baobab as Humanity’s Tree of Life. 

RELATED: Read all about John Rashford in this College of Charleston Magazine story.

He is currently serving as one of three scientific advisors on the board the National Tropical Botanical Garden. He served on the board of The Charleston Museum for a number of years and was the president of The Charleston Museum’s board of trustees from 2008 to 2014. He has also served as a board member for the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, a dual-mission nonprofit dedicated to land conservation and the arts in Charleston and Chicago.

After a long tenure on the board of the Coastal Conservation League, he worked on the Trust for Public Land’s South Carolina Advisory Council. And he served a three-year commitment as the president of the Society for Economic Botany, the premier scientific society for research on the interrelationships between people and plants. He was a founding member of the College of Charleston’s anthropology program and a beloved professor during his tenure at the College of Charleston.

Lilli Taylor

Lilli Taylor

Lilliana M. Taylor, Student Government Association (SGA) president, will speak at the ceremony. Taylor is a senior in the Honors College majoring in public health and minoring in music and medical humanities. She is the first Asian American SGA president in College of Charleston history.

A passionate musician, she plays the violin in the school orchestra and pep band. Additionally on campus, she is involved in clubs like Minorities in Medicine, Asian Student Association, Women in STEM, Biology Club and Lutheran Campus Ministry. She engages with the broader Charleston community by volunteering with nonprofits, conducting bioengineering research at the Medical College of South Carolina, and serving as a student representative on the Charleston Citizen’s Police Advisory Council. Lilli is also an avid reader, traveler and swimmer. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and become a physician.

Additional details for friends and family can be found on the College of Charleston website.  More details for students are located on the Hub.

Winter Commencement has gone mobile! Schedules, maps, reminders and more are now at your fingertips on your iPhone/Android for free. Scan the QR code to download the app or find it on Apple and Google Play. To get the latest information about winter commencement, please use the College’s new mobile app by searching “CofC Winter Commencement” in the app store. With this resource, you get access to the most up-to-date information as well as networking tools, notifications and more.