Commencement: Our First University Class

A message to our Faculty and Staff:

Next week we conclude our first academic year as a University, bidding goodbye to the Class of 2016, the first “sons” and “daughters” of our Middle Georgia State University.

On Monday evening we gather on our Macon campus as a faculty and staff working across 175 miles of middle Georgia, to host a reception and celebration to honor the work that each of us has undertaken to reach this moment of student departure and the formation of the newest University alumni cohort.  Nearly 1,100 students earned their post-secondary credential from the state’s newest public University in 2015-16, about 520 of whom will walk across the stage at our three Spring Commencement ceremonies, scheduled over two days—Wednesday May 11, and Thursday, May 12. Our graduates this week are reaching this milestone through their own efforts, but also through the dedicated service of our faculty and staff who have nurtured their learning and their living to the point of graduation, alongside their friends and families who have encouraged and supported them.

This year we conduct our Commencement exercises on our campus, not only for reasons of economy of scale, but also to honor the College and Schools that have overseen the graduates’ maturation. It is fitting we say goodbye to those graduates on our soil and from our home.

Our speakers exemplify the leadership commitment and values we expect now from our students.  They are leaders in their professions who understand fully that a public University serves society economically, ethically and culturally, so that a degree diploma with the name Middle Georgia State University attached is one that shows that its bearer understands his or her role in sustaining the Common Good

Speakers for this year’s ceremonies include notable business and civic leaders from the fields of healthcare, media and business. Dr. Ninfa Saunders, CEO of Navicent Health, will address approximately 170 graduates from the School of Health Sciences on Wednesday afternoon. These new members of the healing professions will have received their pins earlier that day.

Teya Ryan, CEO of Georgia Public Broadcasting, will address nearly 190 graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Georgia Academy of Arts, Mathematics, Engineering & Sciences on Thursday morning. And, Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will address nearly 160 graduates from the Schools of Aviation, Business, Education and Information Technology on Thursday afternoon.

Graduate Kylie E. Mims Snow, the 2016 President’s Scholar—whose work as Middle Georgia State’s first undergraduate teaching assistant is emblematic of our University mission—will be the student speaker at the three ceremonies. Graduates will also be welcomed into the Middle Georgia State University Alumni Association by board members Dr. Keith Moffett (Chair, Class of 2003) and Kim Johnson (Class of 2010).

I am proud of your accomplishments this year.  As a community we soon move into the summer season and the anticipation of a new Academic year, which we will kick off with Convocation on Friday 5th August.

For now, I congratulate you on what you have done to serve our students and the state of Georgia in this wonderful week for the Class of 2016.  Graduation is not really about endings, but about beginnings—or commencement—for a new graduating class.  Enjoy the knowledge of the greatness you have demonstrated in ensuring our Class of 2016 is prepared and encouraged in its new beginnings.