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JANUARY 6, 2005

Graduates, Pioneers Celebrate Sherman's 100th Commencement

While 46 new chiropractors reminisced about their last three and a half years at Sherman, graduates of the college's first class traveled back in time 28 years to a humble but memorable ceremony held at a local movie theater in 1976 in Spartanburg, SC. Sherman College's December 2004 commencement ceremony proved to be a memorable one for both the 100th graduating class and the "Pioneer" graduates in attendance.

As the first chiropractors to graduate from Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, members of the Class of 1976 are often affectionately called "Pioneers." Thirty-eight such Pioneers walked across the stage at the Westgate Theater in Spartanburg (the college did not yet have a permanent facility) to receive the doctor of chiropractic degree during the school's first commencement ceremony. It was only fitting that the date of this event was September 18, the anniversary of chiropractic's founding by D.D. Palmer.

Pioneer graduates in attendance at the college's 100th commencement ceremony included Drs. Fran Lounsbury, Virginia Brannon (both seated), Robert Epstein, Perry Rush, Leroy Moore and David Ivey.

Twenty-eight years and three months later, 46 new doctors of chiropractic from around the world received their degrees on the college's permanent campus in the Springfield section of Spartanburg. The December graduates enjoyed a light breakfast with family and friends while several of the Pioneer graduates gathered for a reception in their honor. December graduates and Pioneers each received a marble paperweight with an engraved plaque commemorating the day.

Forty-six students from around the world received the doctor of chiropractic degree at the college's 100th commencement ceremony on December 18, 2004.

Alex Carmelo Roa of Puerto Rico, recipient of the Milton W. Garfunkel Award, presented a rousing farewell address to his classmates during the ceremony. The Garfunkel Award is the highest award given at graduation. Roa received a standing ovation following his address, during which he described his emotional journey from Puerto Rico to the U.S. for chiropractic college. Roa came to Sherman with no money, no car, no friends and little command of the English language. He leaves the college as a doctor of chiropractic, with honors, and with his new wife. Roa also received the B.J. Palmer Philosophy Distinction Award.

George A. Berry, Jr., of Florida received the Service Distinction Award. This award is not presented at every graduation; rather it is given only to that occasional, special student who stands out for his or her significant and distinguished service contributions to the college throughout the course of study.

Roxzanne B. Breland, B.S., M.Ed., D.C., of Greenville, SC, gave the commencement address. Breland is a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Sherman College and a former Sherman instructor. She is a member of the South Carolina Chiropractic Association (SCCA), the Women's Network, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and Altrusa International Inc., and she has presented numerous workshops in risk management and x-ray certification. Breland is current president of the South Carolina Quality Radiation Standards Association Board and is a member of the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Board. She is a member of the Sherman College Alumni Association, the Board of Regents and the Sherman College Board of Visitors.

Sherman's Dean of Clinical Sciences Leslie M. Wise, B.A., D.C., gave the charge to the graduates. Wise immediately joined the faculty of Sherman College following his graduation from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1974. Wise was awarded the college's first Faculty Member of the Year Award in 1982. He serves on the National Board Test Committee for Part II and Part IV and was recently named to the National Board Test Committee for Ethics and Boundary Issues. He is a member of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges Technique Consortium. Wise maintains a private practice in Spartanburg with his son, Nicholas, a 2000 Sherman graduate, and recently celebrated 30 years in practice.

Wise and his wife, Joy Gayler, who is also an instructor at Sherman College, are creators of the Institute for Chiropractic Ethics web site (www.chiroethics.org), an online source of ongoing information concerning ethical issues in chiropractic. Dr. Wise attended the first Sherman College graduation in 1976 and has been present at nearly all of the 100 graduations since that time.

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