November 29, 2017

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr. to Speak at VSU’s 224th Commencement Ceremony

Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr.

VALDOSTA — Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., chairman of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, will deliver the keynote address during Valdosta State University’s Fall 2017 commencement ceremony at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, on the Front Lawn.

“Graduation is a defining moment in every student’s life,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “We are excited to pay tribute to the outstanding efforts of our fall graduates and celebrate education as the foundation upon which success is built. These students have had to overcome any number of challenges to reach this point in their life’s journey. It is that very perseverance that protects and nurtures Blazer Nation’s tradition of academic, creative, athletic, research, and service excellence.”

Hopkins is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic sports medicine and maintains a private practice in his hometown of Griffin, Georgia, where he is a partner of OrthoGeorgia. He completed his undergraduate studies at VSU, his pre-medicine studies at the University of Georgia, and his medical studies and residency at Emory University. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where he served as a fighter squadron flight surgeon and orthopaedic surgeon. 

Hopkins is past president of the Griffin Rotary Club and a member of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society, the medical staff of Spalding Regional Hospital, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the Gridiron Secret Society, and Kappa Alpha Order. He serves on the board of United Bank Corporation, United Bank of Griffin, Augusta University Health, and MAG Mutual Insurance Company. He previously served on the boards of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia Health Strategies Council, the Governor’s Physician Partnership, Southern Crescent Technical College, The Salvation Army, and First Methodist Church of Griffin.

Hopkins and his wife, Sara Lucas Hopkins, have two adult children. He enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, and serving his community. He is the acting team physician for Griffin High School, Spalding High School, Pike County High School, and Gordon College.

Approximately 1,300, undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized during Valdosta State University’s 224th commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9. This includes students who completed their studies during the Summer 2017 semester.

The schedule of events is as follows:

College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, in the University Center Magnolia Room. 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, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Master of Science in Nursing. The nursing students will be pinned, and the master’s level students will be hooded.

Graduate School Commencement Ceremony

The Graduate School Commencement Ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, 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. 9, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, on the Front Lawn. Graduates will line up at 3:30 p.m. at Nevins Hall and the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center. 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. The celebration will end with a full fireworks display. Transportation will be provided from the university parking lots. Students will be able to bring as many family and friends as they desire. Accessible parking and seating will be available. Guests unable to attend my view the ceremony live at

Please visit for a complete who, what, where, when guide to VSU’s 224th commencement ceremonies, including directions on where to park.

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