Several speakers delivered hopeful messages Friday on a chilly graduation day on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, UGA’s ceremony for graduate students began at 10 a.m.
About 1,000 students packed the Stegeman Coliseum to receive Ph.D. and master’s degrees, and to listen to UGA professor Marshall Shepherd, the head of UGA’s atmospheric sciences program.
The main graduation event, the undergraduate ceremony, began at Sanford Stadium at 7 p.m. with fireworks and all.
A total of 1,169 graduate students and 4,456 undergraduates were able to participate in Friday’s events.
Sportscaster and UGA graduate Ernie Johnson, host of TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” was the featured speaker for undergraduates.
In between, the School of Political and International Affairs and the School of Social Work also had convocation ceremonies for their graduates, with other notable speakers.
Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss addressed the School of Public and International Affairs, and former Georgia Commissioner of Labor Michael Thurmond, an Athens native who is now CEO of metropolitan Atlanta’s DeKalb County, addressed the School of Social Work graduates.
Thurmond quoted Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Gospel of Matthew as he exhorted social work graduates to go out and make a difference, and not to be discouraged by the nature of their work.
“Not every child you encounter can be saved,” he said, “nor can every family be reunited, nor every alcoholic rehabilitated.”
But some can, he said.
“You are in a unique position to change and save lives,” Thurmond said.
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