Graduate to Deliver Convocation Address at Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics

August 30, 2017

For the first time, a GSSM alumnus will be the keynote speaker at The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) Convocation Ceremony Thursday, September 7 at 2 p.m. at the Center Theater in Hartsville.  Carl Garris, GSSM Class of 2013, will deliver the convocation address.

Garris, a Chapin native, attended GSSM from 2011-2013. While here, he was able to integrate his interest in history and the humanities with a solid education in the STEM disciplines.

"We are delighted to have a recent GSSM alumnus address our students, faculty, staff, and parents at this special ceremony," said Dr. Hector Flores, GSSM President. "I have no doubt Carl will inspire our students with his GSSM and USC story."

After graduating from GSSM, Garris attended the University of South Carolina (UofSC) Honors College where he majored in Medieval Studies. He credits GSSM for opening his eyes to the interdisciplinary research connections between science and history.   As a freshman, he began a research project with Dr. Scott Gwara, an English language and literature professor at UofSC. Garris traveled to Stanford, where he used X-rays from a Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource to decipher an erased ownership inscription on the page of a thirteenth century Oxford pocket bible. 

Since then, he’s continued to combine his passion for science and history through studies in the digital humanities, using computer science to aid in historical research and through exploring the potential of scientific proxy evidence in understanding human history. 

Garris, a Richard Hofstadter Fellow, is currently pursuing his PhD in medieval history at Columbia University. 

“As I begin work on my PhD at Columbia University, having traveled a long way from home, I'm reminded that I did much the same thing six years ago when I set out for Hartsville to begin a life-changing two years at GSSM,” said Garris. “The Governor's School is a place of unlimited opportunity, unbounded by discipline or rigid standardization. So, my message to the Govies is this: Carpe Diem! Seize this day and find yourselves swept off to places of which you've scarcely dreamed."

Read Garris' full speech.

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