May 2, 2016
16-141

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Celebrates 221st Commencement Saturday, May 7

Alumnus Stuart Parker of USAA to Serve as Keynote Speaker

VALDOSTA — More than 1,500 students will be recognized during Valdosta State University’s 221st commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7.

“It has always intrigued me that graduation exercises are referred to as a ‘commencement,’” said Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president of VSU. “If you think about it, however, it is the commencement of the next stage in our graduates’ lives. At commencement we celebrate accomplishments at VSU and the earning of degrees, but we also look forward with eager anticipation to what this new generation of VSU graduates will accomplish throughout their lives and careers. I look forward to celebrating with more than 1,500 graduates and their families and friends this weekend.”

VSU’s Spring 2016 commencement ceremonies mark the beginning of a new tradition for Blazer Nation. 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 a full, meaningful experience.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Commissioning Ceremony

The Air Force ROTC Detachment 172 will conduct a commissioning ceremony at 9 a.m. in the Student Union.

Graduate School Convocation

The Graduate School Convocation will be held at 10 a.m. on the front lawn.  Dr. James L. LaPlant, dean of the Graduate School and assistant vice president for research, will lead the festivities, which will include hooding all the candidates for the Doctor of Public Administration, Doctor of Education, Education Specialist, Master of Accountancy, Master of Arts, Master of Arts for Teachers, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Music Education, Master of Music, Master of Public Administration, Master of Science, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Social Work. Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held on the Pedestrian Mall between West Hall and Nevins Hall, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees. 

Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration Convocation

The Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration Convocation will be held at 1 p.m. on the Pound Hall lawn. Dr. L. Wayne Plumly Jr., dean of the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, will lead the festivities, recognizing all the candidates for the Bachelor of Business Administration. Alumnus Jeff Worn of South Georgia Pecan Company, a 2008 VSU graduate, will speak, and the college’s top academic achievers will be recognized.  Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held in the Health Sciences and Business Administration courtyard, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees.  

• James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services Convocation

The James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services Convocation will be held at 1 p.m. on the front lawn. Dr. Lynn Minor, dean of the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, will lead the festivities, recognizing all the candidates for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Education. Mara Charles, a graduating senior, will speak, and the college’s top academic achievers will be recognized. Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held on the Pedestrian Mall between West Hall and Nevins Hall, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees. 

• College of the Arts Convocation

The College of the Arts Convocation will be held at 1 p.m. on the Fine Arts lawn. A. Blake Pearce, dean of the College of the Arts, will lead the festivities, recognizing all the candidates for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Music. Natalie Milko, a graduating senior, will speak, and the college’s top academic achievers will be recognized. Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held in the covered area on the Fine Arts lawn, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees. 

College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation will be held at 4 p.m. on the Pound Hall lawn. Dr. Sheri Noviello, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, will lead the festivities, recognizing all the candidates for the Associate of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The nursing students will be pinned, and the college’s top academic achievers will be recognized. Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held in the Health Sciences and Business Administration courtyard, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees. 

College of Arts and Sciences Convocation

The College of Arts and Sciences Convocation will be held at 4 p.m. on the front lawn. Dr. Connie Richards, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will lead the festivities, recognizing all the candidates for the Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Science. William Jake Croft, a graduating senior, will speak, and the college’s top academic achievers will be recognized. Every student will have his or her name called, and every student will be presented a gift from the college. Immediately following this event, a reception will be held on the Pedestrian Mall between West Hall and Nevins Hall, allowing graduates and their friends and families an opportunity to socialize with the college faculty and other attendees. 

Graduation Ceremony

Graduation will be held in Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. The processional will begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 8 p.m.

Stuart Parker will deliver the keynote address. He 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. He is a first-generation college student from Valdosta and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at VSU, where he was also a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program.

“Stuart Parker is a distinguished graduate of Valdosta State University,” Staton said. “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.”

During the graduation ceremony, President’s Award for Academic Excellence recipients, honor graduates, and commissioned Air Force ROTC cadets will be recognized, and every graduate in attendance will have his or her 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.

The graduation ceremony will be streamed live at http://esenetworks.com/page.aspx?id=5847&page-id=5875, under the section titled “Upcoming Events.”

Please visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/advancement/event-services/commencement/ for more information about VSU’s 221st commencement ceremonies, including directions on where to park for each event. 

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