USC summer commencement Saturday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The University of South Carolina is awarding more than 1,500 degrees at its summer commencement.

University spokeswoman Megan Sexton says Saturday's event is being held in Columbia to celebrate recipients who studied at the institution's eight campuses.

Sexton says 1,502 degrees are being awarded for baccalaureates, masters and professional-degree recipients in the Colonial Life Arena.

John Gardner, the former director of the University 101 program that helps freshmen adjust to the college experience, is the commencement speaker. He is receiving an honorary doctoral degree in education.

Marlena Mills Smalls, who founded and directs the group Hallelujah Singers, is receiving an honorary doctoral degree for music. She is being honored for bringing attention to the Gullah culture of the South Carolina sea islands.