Congratulations class of 2021!
It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming you to the University of South Carolina, and I was giving you my phone number during freshman orientation. Your collegiate experience has been defined by tremendous achievement despite great adversity, which is something you should all take immense pride in.
It remains one of my greatest honors to have served as your student body president during the 2017-2018 year. Our campaign brought back the idea of running with fellow candidates as the Momentum ticket took executive office, a tradition we have seen continued in subsequent years.
While there are countless memories to reflect on, a few stand above all. We celebrated milestones in our athletic programs as we made our first trip to the men’s basketball Final Four and attained our first women’s basketball National Championship, creating a new tradition of gathering in the fountain in front of Thomas Cooper Library to celebrate.
We hosted our second annual Cockstock Concert during Homecoming alongside Carolina Productions and Gamecock athletics, boasting an attendance of over 7,000 students as it was expanded to the Colonial Life Arena to include alumni, the surrounding community and even a homecoming festival outside.
Dance Marathon raised over $1 million dollars For the Kids at Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands in downtown Columbia. Most significantly, the university celebrated our diversity by raising a statue in honor of Richard Greener, the first African American professor on our campus.
Our time was not without hardship, as a cowardly and ignorant few posted repugnant flyers that were hung on campus right after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During these times, the Carolina spirit rose above hate as we swiftly denounced any tolerance of such acts.
One of my most fond memories came during the spring, as we memorialized our beloved mascot after years of fundraising to be seen and admired by generations of students and alumni to come.
These memories are the ones I cherish the most when reflecting on my time, and I hope you have those that you will always remember similarly.
Although you will move on to a new chapter, you will always be a Gamecock. Congratulations!