March 20, 2017

President Announces Commencement Speaker


Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the first African American woman to serve on the N.C. Supreme Court, will be the featured speaker, and local community leader and philanthropist Adair Phifer Armfield will receive an honorary degree at Guilford College’s Commencement on May 20, President Jane Fernandes has announced.

Patricia was named to the state’s highest court by Gov. Mike Easley in 2006 after serving on the N.C. Court of Appeals and as a district court judge and assistant district attorney. In 2014, President Obama appointed her to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, for which she is vice chair. She was a Guilford College trustee from 2009-16.

“Through her service to the legal profession, the people of North Carolina and the nation, Pat has shown that she lives and works with a commitment to the core values of Guilford College,” Jane said. “Her trailblazing life and career and ties to Guilford will be a source of inspiration to our graduating students and their families.”

Patricia earned her undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill in 1976 and a Juris Doctor from the UNC School of Law in 1979. She earned a master of law degree from Duke University School of Law in 2014. Her son, Ernest “Sonny” Goodson Jr., graduated from Guilford in 2010 with a degree in sport management.

A True Servant Leader
Adair’s positive influence can be noted throughout the Greensboro community. She is a lifelong supporter of the arts, and her commitments to higher education and secondary education in our area are significant and aimed at providing excellent education for the next generation. She has worked to lift up the underprivileged and underserved.

“From her financial and personal support of relief for refugees and the homeless to her commitment to the arts, education and welfare of future generations, Adair has modeled what it means to be a servant leader and is a person deserving of the high honor of an honorary degree from Guilford College,” Jane said.

Adair’s passion is reflected in her support of Weatherspoon Art Gallery, GreenHill Center for N.C. Art, Canterbury School, Salem College (her alma mater), Greensboro College, The Barnabas Network, Heartstrings and Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro.

In addition, the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Foundation, named for her late husband, and for which she is board chairperson, has been a substantial contributor to higher education and secondary education locally, including gifts to Guilford College for athletics facility improvements.

Guilford is scheduled to hold the commencement ceremony in its 180th year at 9 a.m. on May 20 on the quad in the center of campus. President Fernandes will preside for the third year. Students chosen by the Class of 2017 will speak, and diplomas will be awarded to graduates completing degrees in the past year.