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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Ferrum Class of 2014 includes 24 local students
Brigadier General ‘Burt’ Thompson will deliver commencement address
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Courtesy Photo: U.S. Army Brigadier General Burdett K. “Burt” Thompson will deliver the keynote address at Ferrum College’s 98th commencement on Saturday, May 10.

Friday, May 9, 2014

More than 200 graduates, including 24 local students, will receive their degrees as Ferrum College celebrates its 98th annual commencement on Saturday, May 10.

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony at Hart International Plaza in the center of campus will feature the presentation of student, faculty and alumni awards, and will be followed by a picnic lunch on the lawn for graduates and their families.

Award recipients will include Ferrum College alumnus and former football player Ed George '68, who will receive the Benjamin M. Beckham Medallion, the college's highest alumni honor, given in recognition of George's gifts of time, talent and resources. 

U.S. Army Brigadier General Burdett K. "Burt" Thompson '82, current U.S.A. Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Policy - U.S. Pacific Command, will deliver the keynote address. Thompson, a Ferrum College Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, grew up in Franklin County. A highly decorated officer, he was promoted to Brigadier General last spring.

In addition to his Associate of Arts degree from Ferrum College, General Thompson holds three master's degrees. He has served in Korea, Panama and Iraq and has been a ranger, a paratrooper and has served in two prominent airborne divisions -- the 82nd and the 101st.

"I am so proud of our graduating seniors," said Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten. "Commencement is our most important celebration of the year. Not only does it affirm the hard work of these exceptional young men and women, but it also reflects the dedication of our faculty and staff who have been committed to the students' academic and extracurricular success."

"The presence of General Thompson, Mr. George and past Board Chair Kelly Herrick, all highly successful Ferrum alums, will be a tremendous inspiration to the students," Braaten added.

Graduates will also participate in a traditional Baccalaureate service on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. in Vaughn Chapel, culminating with a candlelight ceremony at Hart International Plaza to symbolize the light of knowledge that the new graduates will carry forth into the world. 

In the event of rain, commencement exercises will be held in Swartz Gymnasium.

The 24 local graduates are Maggie Lynne Akers of Boones Mill, Chelsea Marie Anderson of Rocky Mount, Tracie Lynne Arrington of Henry, Camille Dawn Bower of Rocky Mount, Emily Ann Bowman of Rocky Mount, Boreika Sharayn Burwell of Wirtz, Martin Wilson Covington of Ferrum, Amanda Mae Dillon of Wirtz, Joseph Michael Edward Dolinger of Hardy, Jessica Nicole Franklin of Rocky Mount, Gary Lee Goad of Wirtz, and Austin Michael Godel of Rocky Mount.

Also, Jacob Larry Hancock of Rocky Mount, Brain J. Hart of Boones Mill, Bryanna Shea Hill of Rocky Mount, Meagan Brytewater Hodges of Ferrum, Daniel Fleming Hogan of Ferrum, Frank Leland Hudson of Boones Mill, Brandon Kyle Marsh of Penhook, Clint William Martin of Wirtz, Jacob Evan Moore of Ferrum, Melody Leigh Pendleton of Rocky Mount, Michael Jamison Perdue of Glade Hill and Hope Lashea Smith of Callaway.

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