February 8, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Stuart Parker to Speak at VSU’s 221st Commencement Ceremony May 7

Stuart Parker

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University is pleased to announce that Stuart Parker will be the featured speaker during the spring semester commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7.

Parker is chief executive officer of USAA, a Fortune 150 company that provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products, and advice to 11 million current and former members of the United States military and their families. USAA has more than 28,000 employees.

Prior to his civilian career, Parker served nearly 10 years in the United States Air Force, flying combat missions in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm and training other military pilots. 

Parker, a first-generation college student from Valdosta, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at VSU, where he also was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC Program.

“Stuart Parker is a distinguished graduate of Valdosta State University,” said Dr. Cecil Staton, interim president of VSU. “It is important that our graduates understand the value of a VSU degree and recognize where that degree, together with integrity and hard work, can carry one in life. Parker is a wonderful role model for Valdosta State students and graduates.”

The spring semester commencement ceremony marks the beginning of a new tradition at VSU. Because earning a university degree is a profound rite of passage, the entire day will be devoted to celebrating each graduate’s scholarly achievements with an experience of meaningfulness.

The schedule of events for VSU’s spring commencement festivities is as follows:

• At 9 a.m. the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) will host its commissioning ceremony in the Student Union.

• At 10 a.m. the Graduate School will host its convocation on the Front Lawn.

• At 1 p.m. the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration will host its convocation on the Pound Hall Lawn, the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services will host its convocation on the Front Lawn, and the College of the Arts will host its convocation at the Fine Arts Building Amphitheatre.  

• At 4 p.m. the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will host its convocation on the Pound Hall Lawn, and the College of Arts and Sciences will host its convocation on the Front Lawn.

• At 8 p.m. VSU will host its 221st commencement ceremony at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. Parker will deliver the keynote address, and every graduate in attendance will be recognized by having their name called as they walk across the platform area in front of their fellow graduates, their faculty, and their family and friends. There will be live music by a student and faculty chamber ensemble and a full fireworks display. Transportation will be provided from the university parking lots to the stadium. Students will be able to bring as many family and friends as they desire. Accessible parking and seating will be available.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.