Commencement Spring 2019

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

And so we reach the climax on another academic year as Middle Georgia State University!

If you are one of our 630 students graduating this week with a Certificate or an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, I congratulate you and hope I shall have the honor of shaking your hand and being photographed with you on the Commencement stage.  This year our first Master of Science in Management graduates will be receiving their degrees and their hoods.  We are building this University one Commencement ceremony at a time.

You will walk in to the famous music of “Pomp and Circumstance” by the 20th century composer Elgar.  It is the same music that commonly ushers in the Commencement ceremonies of all colleges and universities across the USA.  Interestingly it was originally written for the coronation of King Edward VII of Great Britain in 1902.  I am not sure how royal coronation music came to be used in Commencement exercises in America, but I am glad it did.  It is a piece of music that now identifies meritocracy, not aristocracy, and that celebrates the great achievements of the many rather than the privilege of the few.  You will also hear at the Ceremony from our keynote speaker, Ms. Mary Loverde, and international women’s leader, advocate, and motivational speaker who understands that greatness has the capacity to exist in us all.  Her presence is a fitting tribute to our students as they begin their post-college careers and lives.

An educational degree is of course to some extent a privilege.  It is bestowed on those who have earned it with hard work, who are meritorious of its accolade and diploma, and surely changes the fortunes and opportunities of those who receive it this week. We say “find your greatness” at MGA, and the 630 graduates this week have surely found theirs.  But let us recognize too that as scholars they belong to schools or disciplines of learning, where their success has been helped, facilitated, supported and led by others.  We learn as a team.  We do not learn in isolation.  Our graduates this week have amazing teams behind them!

To our faculty and staff, you are the finest team they could hope for.  You are committed, creative, caring and constant.  You are greatness in action yourselves.  You are heroes who have helped these students to this point of Commencement – a new beginning, not an end – and you have my deepest respect and gratitude.

To the family, friends and supporters of our graduates, if you read this Blog you must know that you are also the unsung heroes of our students’ success.  As a parent I know the time, effort, financial commitment and, yes, deep love you have bestowed on your student.  They are coming to Commencement because of you too, make no mistake of that.  I thank you too.

And finally, to our graduating Class of 2019, I thank you that you gave us your trust in educating you.  You did not have to come to Middle Georgia State University.  We are a better place because you did. We are proud, very proud, to have served you.  Now, please show your greatness in the world with your degree.

Happy Commencement!