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Commencement 2016

View Commencement Slideshow

Commencement at the College of Charleston is a special time. For decades, the spring commencement ceremonies have taken place in the Cistern Yard where ancient live oak trees draped with Spanish moss set the stage, and Randolph Hall – the College’s oldest building — provides a fitting backdrop. Crossing the Cistern as graduates do in the spring is a symbolic tradition at the College. At our spring commencement ceremonies, women wear white dresses and carry roses while men wear white dinner jackets. Winter commencement ceremonies are ordinarily held indoors at TD Arena, and the dress code is black dresses for women and black tuxedos for men.

Commencement Webcasts

Congratulations, Class of 2016! View the full ceremony videos below.

Commencement Speakers

deborah james

Deborah Lee James

Deborah Lee James is the 23rd secretary of the U.S. Air Force and is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its nearly 664,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian airmen and their families. Secretary James has 30 years of senior homeland and national security experience in the federal government and the private sector. Prior to her current position, Secretary James served as the president of the Science Applications International Corporation’s technical and engineering sector.

Judge Luttig

Judge J. Michael Luttig

The Honorable Michael Luttig is the executive vice president and general counsel of The Boeing Company, a position he has held since May 2006. Luttig is also a member of the company’s executive council. Luttig joined Boeing after having served as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for 15 years. At the time of his 1991 appointment by President George H.W. Bush, Luttig was the youngest federal appeals court judge in the country.

Michael Couick

Michael N. Couick

Michael N. Couick is the president and chief executive officer of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina Inc. He previously served as general counsel for the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee for 21 years before being elected by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina in 2005.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Senator Leatherman

Senator Hugh K. Leatherman

Senator Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. has been a South Carolina senator representing the 31st District (Darlington and Florence counties) since 1981. His public service began in 1967, when he was elected to the town council in Quinby, S.C., and then served as mayor pro tempore for Quinby for five years. In his 35 years at the State House, Senator Leatherman has held many legislative leadership positions, including chairman of the Senate Finance, Interstate Cooperation, Joint Bond Review and Senate Operations and Management Committees. In June 2014, Senator Leatherman was elected president pro tempore of the South Carolina Senate.

Judge Fields

Judge Richard E. Fields

The Honorable Richard E. Fields was admitted to practice before both the bars of the District of Columbia and South Carolina in 1948. A year later, he returned to Charleston to begin his law practice. In 1969, he was appointed associate municipal court judge for the City of Charleston, and in 1971 became the court’s presiding judge. In 1974, Fields was elected by the S.C. General Assembly to the position of family court judge in Charleston County and served in this capacity until 1980, when he was elected by the General Assembly to serve as a circuit court judge in South Carolina, where he served with distinction until his retirement in 1992.