Kyle Dawson is funny and wildly enthusiastic about the USC Aiken sports events he had broadcast over the athletics department’s webcast.

At the university’s commencement ceremony on Dec. 12, nearly 200 graduates will get to hear him live: Dawson will address his classmates as the outstanding senior graduate.

He is finishing his college career as a summa cum laude communications major and was the Kay Lawrence Memorial Journalism Scholarship recipient for the current year.

“Broadcasting is what I want to do most,” Dawson said. “When I’m doing a broadcast, I want it to be better than the last one.”

Over the past three years, Dawson, 27, has crammed in a lot of extracurricular activities, among them the Pacer Times newspaper, where he has served as sports editor. He is also completing internships with the Sports Information Department and the Aiken Standard.

As an Aiken High School student, Dawson enjoyed another passion that is as much a sport as football or basketball – the academic team.

Carey Johnson, Aiken High School’s longtime coach and athletic director, once noted Dawson’s strong voice, suggesting he go into broadcasting. That led Dawson to enroll at the University of South Carolina as a broadcast journalism major. Unexpectedly, he encountered serious health issues that required two surgeries.

He wasn’t yet ready to return to USC and decided to remain in Aiken and attend USCA for one semester.

“But it didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to stay,” Dawson said.

He cited the contributions of communications professors Dr. Charmaine Wilson and Peggy Elliott, as well as English professors Dr. Jill Hampton and Dr. Lynne Rhodes.

In a statement that will appear in the graduation ceremony program, Wilson described Dawson’s superior intellectual abilities.

“I often call on Kyle during class discussions because his comments will link prior learning to the current conversation and elevate the discussion,” Wilson said. “His insightful observations, coupled with his humble manner, earn him the respect of his peers.”

Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.