Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

The following College of Charleston faculty members will speak at the College’s spring 2024 commencement ceremonies: 

Julia Eichelberger, Professor, English

Gioconda “Gia” Quesada, Associate Provost for Assessment

Elizabeth “Liz” Jurisich, Professor and Department Chair, Mathematics

Honorary degrees will be awarded to George Murrell Smith Jr., speaker of the House of Representatives; Cherry Daniel, College of Charleston Board of Trustees emerita; and Keith Summey, former mayor of North Charleston.


These accomplished individuals will deliver addresses to members of the Class of 2024 during three commencement ceremonies in the Cistern Yard on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, 2024.
  • Julia Eichelberger

    Julia Eichelberger came to the College in 1992 after earning a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.A. from Davidson College. Her American literature courses here have explored African American writers, American fiction and poetry, Jewish American literature and Charleston writers. She also teaches courses in first-year writing, writing in the English major and within the Southern Studies Program, an interdisciplinary minor that she directs. Currently the Marybelle Higgins Howe Professor of Southern Literature, she has published numerous works on Mississippi writer Eudora Welty and other Southern authors. She is an affiliate faculty member in the African American Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and a member of the executive board for the College’s Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston. She has been active in the College’s shared governance, chairing Faculty Senate committees and working to identify best practices for adjunct faculty colleagues as a Faculty Administrative Fellow.

    The South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of University Professors named Eichelberger an AAUP Champion Professor in 2019 for her advocacy for adjunct faculty. She is co-chair of the College’s Committee on Commemoration and Landscapes and has authored numerous essays for its website, Discovering Our Past. College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu has charged this committee to recommend interpretive signage “that presents complete and accurate information about the College, and that communicates our institution’s commitment to truth-telling and our 21st-century values of diversity, equity and inclusion.” She is honored to work with faculty, students and staff across campus to fulfill this charge. Her family includes three College of Charleston alumni: Sara Hutchinson ’12, Ben Hutchinson ’19 and Ben’s fiancée Julie Holl ’11.

  • Gioconda “Gia” Quesada

    Gioconda “Gia” Quesada is a distinguished academic and leader at the College of Charleston. She joined the College in 2003. Over the years, she has held several key positions, including associate director of the Global Business Resource Center, faculty coordinator of general education and chair of the supply chain and information management department. In her current role as the assistant provost of assessment, she underscores her commitment to enhancing the quality of education and her dedication to the College’s mission. In addition to her administrative roles, Quesada is a respected scholar. Her research interests span various areas, including supply chain management, sustainability, international business, lean manufacturing and service operations, among others. Quesada’s commitment to academic excellence, her leadership in administrative roles and her impactful research have an impact on students. She brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in today’s dynamic academic and business environments.

  • Elizabeth “Liz” Jurisich

    Elizabeth “Liz” Jurisich, along with her spouse Ben Cox and daughter Gwendolyn, moved to the Charleston area in 1999. With a Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University (1994), an M.S. from New York University (1987) and a B.A. in mathematics and English from Wellesley College (1985), she brings a wealth of academic experience to her role as chair of the mathematics department at the College of Charleston (2019-present). Her leadership experience includes serving as faculty speaker (2017-19) and associate chair of the mathematics department (2007-12). Jurisich’s research interests lie in representations of infinite-dimensional Lie algebras, free field theory, vertex operator theory and conformal field theory. Jurisich’s academic career has spanned prestigious institutions like the University of California, Santa Cruz (visiting associate professor, 2014-15); and the University of Chicago (L.E. Dickson Instructor, 1994-97).