More than 20,000 people packed into Georgia Southern University's Paulson Stadium on May 8 to honor a record number of graduates at Spring Commencement. Approximately 2,400 graduates participated in the ceremony.
New Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel, who took office in January, served as the speaker at the event.
"This is the largest graduating class we have ever had, and one of the best classes we have ever had. I believe this is a sign of what the future holds for Georgia Southern," he said.
"I don't know who is more excited, me or the graduates. This is my first graduation and I have been looking forward to this since day one."
Along with the traditional graduates, Georgia Southern recognized 153 fully and 63 partially online graduates, the most ever for the University.
An addition to Spring Commencement this year was recognition of the University's newly commissioned ROTC cadets. Another highlight came at the end of the ceremony as Freedom, the bald eagle that flies at Georgia Southern home football games, made his second flight at graduation.
Keel provided graduates with memorable advice, saying, "Never, ever forget that you are an eagle. Your colors are true blue and white and this will always be your house."
Local graduates earning degrees were:
THOMSON: Suzanne Arrington earned a Doctor of Education. Patricia Cato earned a Doctor of Education. Ramona Cochran earned a BS in Justice Studies. Pamela Graziano earned a Doctor of Education. Kimberly Harrison earned a BS in Justice Studies. Benjamin Rushing earned a BS in Construction. Kevin Sims earned a Bachelor of General Studies. Carlton Stewart earned a BS in Information Technology.
HARLEM: Timothy Camp earned a BS in Justice Studies. Lauren Thompson earned a BS in Nursing.
STAPLETON: Jenny Dickson earned a BS in Biology. Amanda Pennington earned a Bachelor of Science.
DEARING: Halley Enriquez earned a Master of Education. Johnathan Watkins earned a BS in Construction.
LINCOLNTON: Michael Faglier earned a BS in Mech Engineering Tech. Jonte Kennebrew earned a Bachelor of Business Adm. Taylor Pennington earned a Bachelor of Business Adm.
APPLING: Rebecca Marshall earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers 112 degree programs serving 19,000 students.
Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.
The University, one of Georgia's largest, is a top choice of Georgia's HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.