The 2018 Commencement exercises were held at South Georgia State College (SGSC) on Friday, May 4. The Douglas Campus ceremony took place on the front lawn of Peterson Hall at 8:30 a.m.
Dr. G. Wayne Clough, the tenth president at Georgia Institute of Technology and the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, served as the keynote speaker. As a native of Douglas, Clough spoke fondly of his hometown and how it shaped his life. Dr. Clough shared, "Those of you who leave South Georgia for a career will find this does not mean leaving home. You take it with you because it is part of who you are. I will always treasure growing up in a place where I was encouraged to develop a lifelong love of reading and learning, to enjoy nature and help protect our natural heritage and to appreciate the importance of family. I know that whatever success I have had in my life is owed in large part to what I was given here in Douglas, Georgia."
He also encouraged graduates as they face adversity and change throughout their life's journey to "continue to grow, learn and give back to help others as you have been helped".
Later that evening at 7 p.m., the Waycross Campus ceremony took place in the gymnasium. SGSC lecturer of history, Mr. Ed Flowers, provided the keynote address. Flowers has served as a member of the South Georgia State College faculty for twenty-two years, eighteen part-time and four full-time, and will retire at the end of this semester. He has brought great joy and excitement to many athletic events over the years as "The Voice of the Ware County Gators" and SGSC Hawks men's basketball team, serving as public address announcer for all home games.
Flowers shared several personal stories and key historical events to support his advice that "hard work pays off". He went on to say that throughout their lives, the graduates may face tough times and their plan A may not work out, and you may have to give up something to get ahead.
In both ceremonies, SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers shared several key academic and athletic accomplishments from the 2018 year. Special recognition and congratulations for the inaugural cohort of ten Bachelor of Science in Management graduates and acknowledgment of dual enrollment graduates from area high schools were given. She also paid tribute to several students, faculty and staff that received significant honors and awards during the year.
A total of 342 students received a degree and were honored for summer 2017, fall 2017 and spring 2018 terms during the annual commencement ceremonies.
Dr. G. Wayne Clough spoke at the commencement exercise on the Douglas Campus.
The commencement address was delivered by Mr. Ed Flowers on the Waycross Campus.
Dr. Thompson-Sellers congratulates Lionell Bennett of Millwood, Ga., on receiving his associate of science with a business administration pathway. Bennett is a longtime employee of SGSC who has worked in the bookstore for 11 years.
(L to R) Tanner Solomon of Douglas, Ga., Dr. Thompson-Sellers and Brittany Ammons of Fitzgerald, Ga., talk after commencement exercises. Solomon and Ammons are both graduates of the nursing program.
Sterling Herrin from Jesup, Ga., Micah Harrell from Waycross, Ga., Cody Barnes from Manor, Ga., and Mark Freeman from Waycross, Ga., are graduates of the Waycross Campus.