Methodist University will celebrate its 43rd annual Winter Commencement Ceremony Saturday, December 12, at 2 p.m. in the March F. Riddle Center. There are currently 232 candidates for graduation.
Mrs. Amy P. Perko (pictured), executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, will deliver the commencement address. The University will present the University Medallion to Mr. Don K. Price, a longtime supporter of Methodist with a distinguished record of community involvement.
The ceremony will also include the commissioning of one ROTC cadet, the presentation of the Sam Edwards Award, and a speech by this year’s Distinguished Graduate.
Prior to the commencement ceremony, the Rev. Leonard Fairley, district superintendent of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church’s Capital District and Episcopal candidate, will deliver the baccalaureate sermon at 10:30 a.m. in Huff Concert Hall.
Perko has served as executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics since 2005. Having served in various leadership positions in sports for 25 years, Perko is a recognized leader in collegiate sports issues. She is often the spokesperson for the Knight Commission and has published commentaries on college sports issues, including two in The New York Times: “Promoting Academics in College Sports” and “Colleges Can Take Action Without an Athletes’ Union.”
Perko graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Wake Forest University, where she played basketball. She earned All-ACC honors twice, and Academic All-America honors three times. She is a member of the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame and the national Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Price has long served the Fayetteville, N.C., and Methodist University communities. Born and raised in West Virginia, he is the owner of Lafayette Ford Lincoln and a Trustee Emeritus of Methodist University. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he joined the sales staff at Lafayette Ford in 1965, and became owner of the business in 1996. Throughout his tenure at Lafayette Ford, Price has been presented with multiple honors and recognitions, including Time Magazine’s Dealer of the Year for North Carolina award, Ford Motor Company’s Dealer of the Year award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. In 2004, Price was named the Methodist University Center for Entrepreneurship’s Business Person of the Year. Additionally, Price received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by former North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, and in 2012, was presented with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America Occoneechee Council.
Prior to graduation, a Baccalaureate Service will take place at 10:30 a.m. in Huff Concert Hall. The Rev. Leonard Fairley will deliver the baccalaureate sermon. Fairley is the district superintendent of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church’s Capital District. A native of Laurinburg, N.C., Fairley has served on numerous boards and agencies for the conference, and has participated on mission work teams in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Montserrat, Zimbabwe, and Haiti. Prior to being appointed the Capital District superintendent in June 2015, Fairley served as the lead pastor at Saint Francis United Methodist Church in Cary, N.C. for three years.