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South Georgia State College (SGSC) is pleased to announce its annual commencement ceremonies honoring graduates from summer 2022, fall 2022 and spring 2023.
The Douglas Campus ceremony will be held Thursday, May 11, 2023, at 8:30 am on the Peterson Hall front lawn. The Waycross Campus ceremonies will be held Friday, May 12, 2023. The first ceremony will be at 12:30 pm, and the second at 7:00 pm, both in the Waycross Campus Gymnasium.
A livestream of each event will be available on SGSC’s Facebook page for those unable to attend to share in the celebration.
Dr. Jim Cottingham will provide the commencement address for the Douglas Campus ceremony. He is Vice President Emeritus for Student Affairs and Professor Emeritus of Education & Psychology for SGSC. Dr. Cottingham retired after completing over thirty years of exemplary service. He filled roles as counselor and then faculty member for the first half of his career before being tapped to lead the college’s student services efforts. He continued teaching during most of his administrative years and particularly enjoyed his role as an academic advisor. Dr. Cottingham enjoyed an active association with key student organizations that enriched campus life and reflected the broad interests of the dynamic student body.
After completing his associate’s degree from South Georgia in 1974, Dr. Cottingham completed degrees at Appalachian State University, Teachers College of Columbia University, and the University of Georgia. Throughout his career, Dr. Cottingham embraced the college’s commitment to service by advancing the efforts of the Academic Boosters Club, Coffee Alliance for the Arts, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and the SGSC Foundation. He served as lay leader and council chair for the Douglas First United Methodist Church, served on the Douglas City Commission, chaired the board of the Satilla Regional Library, and was a founding director of Coffee Regional Medical Center. Dr. Cottingham participated in Leadership Georgia, received the BSA’s Silver Beaver Award, and a campus leadership award bears his name. A Paul Harris and Will Watt Fellow, Dr. Cottingham is a two-time recipient of the Douglas Rotary Club’s Dan A. Jardine Award.
Dr. Cottingham thrives on community engagement. He welcomes opportunities to celebrate and protect the natural environment through roles with the Satilla Riverkeeper and The Nature Conservancy, explore and preserve local history through the Historic Preservation Commission and the Coffee County Historical Society, advance community health and vibrancy through service with Coffee Regional Medical Center, and promote educational achievement through the SGSC Foundation. He and his wife Elizabeth raised their family in Douglas where they enjoy gardening, photography, and spending time with family and friends.
Mr. Taylor Hereford will provide the commencement address at both Waycross Campus ceremonies. Hereford is currently serving SGSC as the Director of Advancement & Waycross Campus, and he also serves as the Executive Director of the James M. Dye Foundation. A native of Waycross, Hereford graduated from the former Waycross College in 1996 with an Associate of Arts Degree in History before transferring to the University of Georgia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism. He received his Master of Education Degree in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University in 2019.
Hereford began his career at SGSC in 2008 when he was hired as the Director of Development & Community Services for the former Waycross College. He oversees the daily operation of SGSC’s Waycross Campus, represents the college and its administration at community meetings and events, and oversees SGSC’s advancement efforts. Hereford manages the James M. Dye Foundation’s scholarship program, and, with the endorsement of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, created the Birdies for Bucks Golf Classic. The tournament’s purpose is to raise funds for the Foundation’s Gap Fund Program.
Hereford represents SGSC on the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of the Waycross Area Community Theatre. Hereford joined the 2017 cast of Dancing With The Southern Stars to benefit Magnolia House and is a member of the Waycross Rotary Club, having served for multiple years as a judge for the local club’s high school speech contest.
Hereford and his wife Deborah enjoy supporting their four children – ages 17, 16, 11, and 9 – in their many school and community activities. When not at a game, concert, or school ceremony, Hereford’s family enjoys traveling with the beach being the most popular destination. They are members of Second Baptist Church in Waycross where Hereford has served in leadership and music capacities as well as with the church’s Upward Basketball program.
Hereford was the 2014 recipient of the Jack Williams Award for Community Service from the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce and the 2010 recipient of the Dr. Mamie Kennedy Student Impact Award from the former Waycross College.
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