USC Aiken honors over 300 graduates during December Commencement

The University of South Carolina Aiken awarded 317 students with their bachelor's and master's degrees during December Commencement on Thursday, Dec. 14.

The event began with Chancellor Dr. Daniel Heimmermann addressing students, "The Class of 2023 represents a new change," he said. "After tonight, many of these students will begin exciting professional careers they've dreamed of and worked hard for." He also emphasized to the graduates that knowledge has little value unless it's put into practice to serve others better.

During the event, ROTC Cadet Jason Fallaw was commissioned into the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant by Matthew Miller, Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and ROTC Professor of Military Science. Fallaw then presented his father with the traditional silver dollar in symbolic exchange for his first salute.

Graduating senior Harshi Lodha Jain was awarded the Outstanding Senior Award. The Indian native graduated with two degrees: a bachelor's in business administration with a marketing concentration and a bachelor's in psychology with a focus on social psychology. Jain also graduated with Magna Cum Lauda honors, having placed on both the Dean's and President's Lists throughout her two years at USC Aiken.

Dr. Brandon Baskett, a 2012 alumnus from the School of Education, served as this year's commencement speaker. Since graduation, Baskett has progressed from student to teacher and administrator. He now works in the Lexington County School District One's The College Center, a program that assists first-generation college students. During his address, he offered words of encouragement to the graduates as he reflected on what post-graduate life was like while applying for jobs. "Just because you're not selected doesn't mean you don't have what it takes," Baskett said.

Among the graduates were scholars, nurses, leaders, artists, scientists, engineers, business professionals, and community citizens. At least 18 graduates will enter the classroom as K-12 educators, 54 will meet their first patients as Registered Nurses, 60 will become business professionals or open their businesses, 47 will protect and improve our nation through advances in the sciences, and 53 will enhance the livelihood of society as professionals in the arts and humanities. Two graduates were presented with their Master of Science in Applied Clinical Psychology, while 84 received a Master of Business Administration.

For more information, contact Angela Saxon,