More than 460 graduates of Piedmont Technical College will receive certificates, diplomas and associate degrees during spring commencement exercises on May 17.

Commencement exercises will begin at 7 p.m. at the Finis Horne Arena at Lander University, and graduates as well as guests are encouraged to arrive early. Once occupancy reaches capacity, additional guests will not be permitted to enter.

Principal speaker for the event will be Rep. William E. “Bill” Sandifer, III, who serves as the representative for the South Carolina House of Representatives District 2, serving the people of Oconee County since 1994.

A native of Aiken, Rep. Sandifer graduated from Seneca High School and then earned a degree from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.  Following graduation, he moved back to Seneca where he began his career as a mortician as the owner and operator of Seneca Mortuary. He currently serves as the Chairman of the SC House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee (LCI); as Chairman of the Office of Regulatory Staff Sub-Committee of the Public Review Committee; and on the Review and Oversight Commission on the SC State Ports Authority. In addition, he has earned the appointment of Chief Majority Whip for two consecutive House Majority leaders.

Rep. Sandifer has long been actively involved in community and civic affairs. He is former chairman of the board of Oconee Memorial Hospital, Fort Hill Natural Gas Authority and the Oconee United Way.  He also serves on the board of the Seneca National Bank and is a member of the Seneca Foothills Elks Lodge #2822. He is past president of the Greater Seneca Chamber of Commerce, Past Master of the Seneca Masonic Lodge, and Past Worthy Patron of the Seneca Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.  In 1981, former South Carolina Governor James Edwards appointed Rep. Sandifer to serve as his representative on the South Carolina State Board of Funeral Service. Rep. Sandifer is also a member of the American Legion Charles McGee Byrd Post 120. Rep. Sandifer served his country for 20 years in the South Carolina National Guard, retiring as a Major.

A special feature of commencement exercises will be recognition of top graduates from Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda Counties. Dr. Ray Brooks will also announce recipients of the prestigious Presidential Medallion awards.

The event is open to the public at no charge.