Students sit during USC's summer commencement on August 4, 2012.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The University of South Carolina is awarding more than 1,500 degrees at its summer commencement.
Graduates who studied at the institution's eight campuses came to Columbia on Saturday and were urged by commencement speaker John Gardner to deliver the leadership the state needs most.
Gardner is the former director of the University 101 program that helps freshmen adjust to the college experience.
The university awarded 1,500 degrees to baccalaureate, master's and professional-degree recipients, almost 1,100 of those from the Columbia campus.
Marlena Mills Smalls is receiving an honorary doctoral degree for music. She founded and directs the group Hallelujah Singers and was honored for bringing attention to the Gullah culture of the South Carolina sea islands.