CONWAY, SC (CCU PRESS RELEASE) In her remarks to Coastal Carolina University’s summer graduates, commencement speaker Pamela Martin discussed the true value of their diplomas as they begin a new chapter in their lives. More than 300 students were eligible to walk in the ceremony today, held at the HTC Center on campus.
Martin, a CCU professor of politics and international relations, placed the new graduates’ achievement in a global perspective. “Slightly under 7 percent of the world’s population has the degree that you have earned today,” she said. “Sixty percent of your fellow U.S. citizens do not have such a degree. Given these statistics, it is clear that you have something to celebrate today!”
Martin refuted some of the negative cultural characteristics that have been attributed to the graduates’ generation. While some pundits contend that they are narcissistically obsessed with digital social media and that they “have no social skills, just screen skills,” Martin said of millennials that “75 percent of you donate to charity . . . , 71 percent of you raise money for charity, and 57 percent of you volunteer for one.” Martin also related personal experiences of her students’ acts of charity, civility and self-sacrifice.
She encouraged the graduates to apply their knowledge and skills to improve the world via the powerful opportunities that today’s technology provide. “You are graduating in a time of unprecedented technology, globalization and commerce, and the ability to express yourself and your ideas and pursuits like no other time before. I say this to all of my students, and I will say it to you today again: You are so lucky to be starting your path with so much before you.”
Martin joined CCU’s Department of Politics and Geography in 1999. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park and taught at La Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Her research and writing focus on global environmental politics, energy, sustainable development, and international relations and policy.