USC Aiken announces May 5 commencement speaker

Belle Wheelan
Belle Wheelan(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 3:14 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The University of South Carolina Aiken announced that the leader of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges will deliver the commencement address May 5.

Commission President and CEO Belle Wheelan is the first African American and the first woman to serve in the position.

Her career in higher education spans more than four decades and includes roles as a faculty member, chief student services officer, provost, college president and secretary of education for Virginia. In several of those roles, she was the first person who is Black or a woman to serve.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas, with majors in psychology and sociology. She also has a master’s degree in developmental educational psychology from Louisiana State University and a doctorate in education administration, with a special concentration in community college leadership, from the University of Texas at Austin.

She has been a member of many local, state, and national organizations and received numerous awards and recognitions.

The commencement exercises will begin at 6 p.m. at Aiken High School, 449 Rutland Drive. For a full schedule of activities and more information, visit,

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