Blanton Gillespie Earns 2019 Valedictory Award
By Brian Hand
Scholar-athlete Blanton Gillespie ’19 earned the Manly E. Wright Award for Scholarship in the Class of 2019. A chemistry major and neuroscience minor, and member of the cross country and track and field teams, Gillespie graduated with a 3.996 GPA. He is a four-time Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year, and in 2018 he was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships in the natural sciences. He has published three papers in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, completed NASA fellowships, and plans to study medicine, then practice rural medicine in underserved Western North Carolina communities.
The student commencement speaker from Shelby, N.C. said to his fellow graduates, “If I can leave you all here with anything useful today, I implore you to thank all of those around you who have offered you support. Along with that, I think the other thing all of us have learned here is that we have the ability to make a difference in the world. And one of the best ways we can do that is by making a difference in our own communities.”