Aiken Technical College and USC Aiken will graduate their classes of 2019 at commencement exercises this week.

ATC's commencement will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Convocation Center at USC Aiken.

More than 400 students have been approved for graduation, including a dozen Midland Valley High School seniors who will be the first cohort to graduate from the college’s Early College program, a partnership with Aiken County Public Schools, according to a news release from ATC.

Students enrolled in the Early College program begin taking college-level courses the summer before their sophomore year toward earning an Associate in Arts and/or Associate in Science degree.

During the ceremony, the college also will recognize its Faculty Member of the Year and Staff Member of the Year.

Dr. Thomas J. Clark - Tom Clark Photo (copy)

Dr. Thomas J. Clark

Dr. Thomas J. Clark, the executive director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, will be the speaker.

USCA's commencement will be at 6 p.m. in the Convocation Center. Almost 450 degrees will be awarded, including graduate and undergraduate degrees, according to a news release from USCA.

Dr. Harris Pastides, the president of the University of South Carolina, will be the commencement speaker. A Yale-educated epidemiologist from New York, Pastides became USC's president in 2008. He will retire this summer.

USCA will hold its academic honors ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Etherredge Center.

Students participating in the Magellan Scholars and USC Aiken Honors Programs will be recognized, along with those students excelling academically from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Sciences and Engineering; the School of Nursing; the School of Business Administration; and the School of Education. Additionally, the USC Aiken Outstanding Senior Student will be named, according to the release.

The nurse pinning ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Etherredge Center. In a time-honored tradition, nursing students will receive their nursing pins, light the Florence Nightingale Flame and recite the pledge named for the famous "lady with the lamp." Nightingale is considered by many to be the founder of modern nursing. References to her influence in the profession are woven throughout the unique event, according to the release.

The graduate hooding ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Etherredge Center. Graduate students will receive their hoods, which make up part of their academic regalia. At USCA, graduate students can earn master's degrees in business administration, education in educational technology and science in applied clinical psychology.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.

A native of Aiken, Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.