April 23, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Amy Carter to Speak at VSU’s 225th Commencement Ceremony

Amy Carter

VALDOSTA — Amy Carter, deputy commissioner for rural Georgia at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will deliver the keynote address during Valdosta State University’s Spring 2018 commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, 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 spring 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.”

Carter graduated from VSU in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Education in business education. She is a member of Phi Mu, a national nonprofit fraternity committed to helping young women become better students, stronger professionals, and greater leaders, and Georgia Children’s Cabinet, a group that works to ensure every child is safe, healthy, educated, productive, and connected to caring adults. She is an alumna of Leadership Lowndes and Leadership Georgia, a former member of the Valdosta-North Rotary Club, and a sustaining member of the Valdosta Junior Service League.

Carter’s community involvement has earned her a number of recognitions, including Valdosta Woman of the Year in 2002, the inaugural Leadership Georgia Dale Threadgill Community Service Award in 2004, the Valdosta Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 2011-2012, the Loyce W. Turner Public Service Award in 2012, the Above and Beyond Award from 4-H in support of youth development education in 2012, and Brooks County Woman of the Year in 2014. Georgia Trend Magazine named her one of only four “Power Women” in the Peach State in 2013.

Carter began her career as a business and office technology instructor at Valdosta Technical College (currently Wiregrass Georgia Technical College). Most recently, she served more than 16 years as a teacher at Lowndes High School, where she worked to prepare sophomores, juniors, and seniors for future positions in the field of education. She championed programs aimed at ensuring students have the soft skills necessary to succeed in the working world and leveraged her experience as an educator to help ensure every Georgia child receives a world-class education, regardless of zip code. In recognition of her efforts in education, she received the Lowndes County Schools Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Educators Legislator of the Year Award, and the Georgia School Counselors Association Legislator of the Year Award. She was also presented an Honorary State FFA Degree.  

Carter has held many titles over the course of her life and has proven to be a passionate advocate for education, economic development, and rural Georgia. She represented House District 175, which includes Brooks County and parts of Lowndes and Thomas counties, in the Georgia General Assembly from November 2006 until December 2017. During her service, she served in numerous leadership capacities, including floor leader for Gov. Nathan Deal, chairwoman of Governmental Affairs, and later, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. She also served as chairwoman of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Commission in 2016 and was a member of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Education, Governmental Affairs, Higher Education, and Small Business Development committees. She committed herself to addressing a number of important issues — decreasing dropout rates, expanding Georgia’s Pre-K program, improving technology in classrooms, and championing measures to support law enforcement and corrections officers.

Following her tenure as a state representative, Carter served as executive director of stewardship and development for the Technical College System of Georgia until March 15, 2018, when Deal appointed her to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In her latest role she will lead state efforts to help rural Georgia communities become more competitive for economic development projects and identify new strategies for attracting jobs and investment outside the Metro Atlanta region.

Carter is a deacon at First Christian Church of Valdosta and has two children.

More than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized during Valdosta State University’s 225th commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5.

The schedule of events is as follows:

• Dental Hygiene Pinning Ceremony

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences will host a Dental Hygiene Pinning Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 4, in the Student Union Theatre.

College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Convocation will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4, in the Student Union Ballroom. 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 5 p.m. on Friday, May 4, in the P.E. Complex. Graduates will line up at 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of the facility. Guests unable to attend may view the ceremony live at www.valdosta.edu/commencement.

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, May 5, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, on the Front Lawn. Graduates will line up at 5:30 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 on Sustella Avenue and Oak Street. 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 may view the ceremony live at www.valdosta.edu/commencement

Please visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/advancement/event-services/commencement/ for a complete who, what, where, when guide to VSU’s 225th commencement ceremonies, including directions on where to park.