South Georgia State College celebrated a momentous annual tradition as 377 graduates were honored with a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 28, 2020.
"The past few months have been a test and testimony of the strength of our South Georgia State College family. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19's impact on our families, friends and neighbors, we remained committed to moving forward with love and purpose," said President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers in her address. "We will continue to provide a high quality and affordable education to help prepare students to compete in a global society and be successful professionally and personally in life."
Graduates were recognized individually as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Robert Page presented 69 baccalaureate degree candidates and 308 associate degree candidates to President Thompson-Sellers for confirmation of their degrees.
Nineteen graduates were awarded two degrees. Eighteen dual-enrolled students had their associate degree conferred before graduating from high school. Three of whom graduated with an associate of arts and an associate of science degree. The 2020 SGSC graduates were from the Cayman Islands, ten states in the US including Georgia and forty-two counties in Georgia.
Participating in the ceremony was Mace Bearer Dr. Scott Thigpen, Professor of Nursing. Mr. Taylor Hereford, Senior Development Officer and Waycross Campus Director, and Ms. Sarah Braswell, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center Coordinator and Academic Support Center Supervisor, opened in song with a tribute to the graduates. Mr. Stanley Sinkfield, Coordinator of Disability Services, sang the National Anthem and Dr. Carl McDonald, Vice President of Academic Affair Emeritus, sang the Alma Mater. Ms. Tania Myers, Coffee High School Choir Director, concluded the program with the processional. Congratulations from faculty and staff representatives were presented by video during the ceremony.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joshua L. Vickers provided the commencement address. Dr. Vickers received his associate degree from SGSC and shared that starting as a student in his hometown was a foundation of his continued success and accomplishments. He feels everyone should take learning as an opportunity to expand horizons and push boundaries. Students should be an explorer of the world and continue to observe, learn and grow.
"I challenge you, the Class of 2020, to seek greatness. Choose the best path. It may be the hardest path and it is okay if you are lost for a while. You may not really know where you are going, but keep searching," said Dr. Vickers. "By being passionate, curious, generous and creative, you will solve problems and begin to make a meaningful difference in the world and that will lead you to personal and professional fulfillment."
Dr. Vickers concluded his address to the students by saying, "I wish you hope for tomorrow for there is much to be hopeful. I wish you peace in your hearts for there is a great reason to have peace. I wish you health, physically, spiritually and emotionally. And finally, I wish you a beautiful life filled with as much wonder as you can imagine."
To view the virtual ceremony on YouTube, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHiTW__TMHo.