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King University News :: A Commencement To Remember :: King Celebrates Last Graduating Class As King College May 11

On Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. on the King campus Oval, students will walk for one final time as the last graduating class of King College.   Graduating students will be awarded degrees from King University beginning fall 2013.  On June 1, 2013, King will begin operating as King University.

“The Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony is a prestigious and historic time for our campus,” stated Dr. Matt Roberts, dean of academic affairs. “We are extremely proud of what our students have been able to accomplish and look forward to the continued success of both our graduates and current students.”

Diplomas will be awarded to more than 380 students who have completed undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies degrees from the King College School of Arts and Sciences, King School of Business and Economics, King School of Education, King School of Nursing, Peeke School of Christian Mission, and King Graduate and Professional Studies Online Programs. 

“We are pleased and excited as we honor this year’s graduates,” said King President, Dr. Greg Jordan.  “As we officially transition to King University in June, the spring class of 2013 holds a special place in our history as the last graduating class to receive bachelor’s or master’s degrees as King College.  The transition to King University reflects the master’s level, comprehensive benchmark that our School has reached in recent years.  Each diploma awarded represents King’s commitment to maintaining a standard of excellence in education.” 

This year’s commencement speaker is Dr. Belle Wheelan, current president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  She is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity.  Her career spans more than 30 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president, and secretary of education.  In several of those roles, she was the first African American and/or woman to serve in those capacities.

Dr. Wheelan received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas with a double major in Psychology and Sociology.  She went onto receive her master’s from Louisiana State University in Developmental Educational Psychology; and her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration with a special concentration in Community College Leadership. 

She has received numerous awards and recognition including four honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University, and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin; Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C.; the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award; the Suanne Davis Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Distinguished Lecturer Award, and the John E. Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s International Leadership Award (2010); and the AACC Leadership Award.

Wheelan holds and has held membership in numerous local, state, and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., board of directors; American Association of Community Colleges’ board of directors; the Lumina Foundation for Education, board of directors; and the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs.

On Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m., graduates will come together in song and worship during King’s annual Baccalaureate Ceremony at First Presbyterian Church.  This year’s speaker will be the Rev. Fed Foy Strang.  He currently serves as King’s Chaplain, dean of the Peeke School of Christian Mission, and associate professor of Missions and Philosophy Religion.  Strang also serves Bristol’s First Presbyterian Church as contemporary worship director.  He is also president of the Maasai Special Projects Fund, Inc., leading Theological Education by Extension for indigenous church leaders in Africa. 

Strang holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary, a Master of Science by Research from the University of Edinburgh, and a Ph.D. from the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh. 

Commencement Parking May 11

With more than 4,000 people expected on our Campus on Saturday, May 11, 2013, parking will be challenging.  To better accommodate guests, parking on campus will be on a first come first serve basis and is limited.  Additionally, to ensure everyone arriving on campus is directed to the best amiable parking all gates except the Carmack Gate entrance on East State Street/King College Road (nearest to the Fire Department) will be closed; signs at each entrance will direct guests the Carmack Gate.

King University will provide complimentary shuttle service to and from the baseball field, soccer field, and tennis courts parking areas to the Oval every 5–10 minutes, starting at 8 a.m. and running into the afternoon.

Special needs parking is available to individuals with government-issued handicapped parking placards.  Those who are mobility impaired and require special needs parking accommodations that do not have a state handicap placard must register to obtain a special Commencement parking permit to receive special parking access.  Registration for the Commencement mobility impaired parking permits is available at  Please note that special needs parking permits issued by King University Security Department and are valid for the 2013 Commencement service only on May 11.


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, digital media, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.