USC Salkehatchie celebrates 52nd commencement


The University of South Carolina Salkehatchie celebrated its 52nd commencement at its Allendale campus on April 26. The University awarded 135 degrees including 116 associate degrees and 19 bachelor’s degrees, which were presented through the University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College and in partnership with other USC campuses. The graduates represented 4 states, 52 cities and included 21 high school students. One graduate maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA while earning her degree.

The ceremony included remarks from Dean April Cone and University of South Carolina Palmetto College Chancellor Susan Elkins who congratulated the graduates on their successes.

“This is your day, and we are here to celebrate you and your many accomplishments, with you, your families, and the community. We realize that you worked tirelessly to earn your degrees, and we are so happy for you to reach this milestone,” Chancellor Elkins said.

Dean Cone encouraged the graduates to maintain a positive mindset as they take the next steps in their lives.

“A positive mindset is critical in achieving your educational, career and life goals. As you move forward, choose to be around people who are supportive, positive, and those who build you up,” she said. “Be confident, yet humble, frequently self-reflect, develop positive relationships, dare to take chances and never be resistant to change.”

Ahron Mack, instructor of speech, was recognized as the 2024 USC Salkehatchie Outstanding Professor and Matthew Frye was recognized as the 2024 USC Salkehatchie Outstanding Student.

Dr. Cone awarded Janiyah Connell with the Commencement Scholarship, a $5,000 award given to an incoming freshman who exhibits academic excellence and community service. Janiyah will graduate from Hampton County High School in May and will attend the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie as a nursing major this fall.

The Faculty Organization Award for Excellence in Scholarship was awarded to Dr. Lokendra Paudel, assistant professor of mathematics, and the Dr. Ann C. Carmichael Faculty and Staff Excellence Award was given to Haley Rowe, director of student life.

As part of the early college partnerships with local school districts, 21 high school seniors earned their associate degrees before receiving their high school diplomas. They are: Colleton County High School - Caleb Walter Cook, Hailey Marie Craven, Hannah Grace Craven, Jessica Danielle Donaldson, Kaniah Jaylen Ferguson, Ahava Geniece Folk, Sarai Cassandra Frazier, Lisa Hiren Patel, Jalyn My’Kal Anthony Perry, Christian Ryan Singleton, Alexandria Nicole Stephens, Saniye Janae Washington, Amaray TiAndra Washington, Christian Aubre Williams; Colleton Preparatory Academy - Jenna Cox; Hampton County High School - Adam O’Neal Padgett, Allison Lynde Rose; Polaris Tech Charter School - Leah Polite; Home School Association - MaKayla Craven, Princeton Ishrael Brook; North Walterboro Christian Academy - Cayleigh Anne Jacques.

USC Salkehatchie recognized Genesis Healthcare, Inc. as the 2024 Friend of Campus. Over the past four years, Genesis Healthcare has partnered with USC Salkehatchie to provide scholarships to students in our rural nursing initiative program. This financial support has made obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing possible and affordable for many of our students and is vital in addressing the rural health care crisis our region faces. Additionally, Genesis Healthcare has provided funding for our athletic teams and has expressed its continued support in advancing our mission.

“Genesis Healthcare has been a true community partner and friend of this campus. For that, we are genuinely grateful,” Dean Cone said.

USC Salkehatchie is a regional campus of the University of South Carolina established to encourage higher education in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton and Hampton counties. To learn more about the campus visit