November 29, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Amanda Miliner to Speak at VSU’s 222nd Commencement Ceremony Dec. 9-10

Amanda Kozak Miliner

Festivities to Culminate in Laser Light Show Due to Drought Conditions

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University is pleased to announce that Amanda Kozak Miliner will be the featured speaker during the fall semester commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Miliner graduated magna cum laude from VSU in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, specifically early childhood education. Representing Valdosta, she was crowned Miss Georgia in 2006 and went on to place second runner-up in the 2007 Miss America pageant. She was named Miss Georgia USA later that year, making her the first Georgian to hold both the Miss America and Miss USA state titles. She currently works as an instructional coach at Miller Elementary School in Warner Robins and has gone on to earn many more titles, including 2013 Miller Elementary School Teacher of the Year, 2014 Houston County Teacher of the Year, and 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year. VSU inducted her into the Educators Hall of Fame and selected her as Graduate of the Last Decade, both in 2015.   

“Amanda is an exemplary teacher and role model for thousands of students,” said Dr. Brian L. Gerber, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are proud to welcome her back to her alma mater. We know that she will be an inspiration to our graduates. Clearly, she is an example of why VSU is the right choice for those seeking to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others.”

Approximately 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized during Valdosta State University’s 222nd commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10.

The schedule of events is as follows:

School of Nursing Recognition Ceremony

The School of Nursing Recognition Ceremony will be held at noon on Friday, Dec. 9, in the University Center Magnolia Room. This event includes the traditional pinning of the nursing students.

Graduate School Commencement Ceremony

The Graduate School Commencement Ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, in the P.E. Complex. The doors will open at 5 p.m. Graduates will line up at 5:30 p.m. at the Education Center.

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

The Air Force ROTC Detachment 172 will conduct a commissioning ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, on the Front Lawn. Graduates will line up at 3:30 p.m. at Nevins Hall and the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center. Miliner 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. The celebration will culminate with “a spectacular laser light show,” said Dr. Kelli R. Brown, interim president of VSU. The post-ceremony fireworks tradition started this past spring will not be possible due to ongoing drought conditions in the area and resulting unusually high fire risk. Transportation will be provided from the university parking lots to the front lawn. Students will be able to bring as many family and friends as they desire. Accessible parking and seating will be available.

“Graduation is always a wonderful time to celebrate the success of a family member, friend, and your student,” Brown said. “I look forward to seeing you at this year’s graduation celebrations as we recognize those who have accomplished much and soon will join the proud family of Blazer alumni.”

Please visit for a complete who, what, when, and where guide to the upcoming festivities. Color-coded parking and seating maps may be found on pages 14-16.