GGC graduates 31 students in mid-year commencement exercises

Today, 31 students dressed in cap and gown received their diplomas from Georgia’s newest four-year institution of higher learning, Georgia Gwinnett College. The graduates are some of the 119 students who attended GGC when the college first opened its doors over two years ago – the initial 17 graduates were awarded diplomas last summer at the institution’s inaugural graduation ceremony.

Today, 31 students dressed in cap and gown received their diplomas from Georgia’s newest four-year institution of higher learning, Georgia Gwinnett College. The graduates are some of the 119 students who attended GGC when the college first opened its doors over two years ago – the initial 17 graduates were awarded diplomas last summer at the institution’s inaugural graduation ceremony.

“You helped create the template and set the standards for others,” University System of Georgia Regent Elridge McMillan said during his keynote address to the students. “For many generations, Georgia Gwinnett College and this region will benefit from lessons learned during your matriculation at this fine institution.

“Your decision to come to Georgia Gwinnett says a great deal about each of you – and it’s all positive. It tells me that you possess a special quality – you are unafraid to explore, to be the pioneer. In short – you have what it takes to be effective leaders. It’s a quality that will serve you well as you move forward with your life, your work and your other endeavors.”

The students all received bachelor degrees with majors in either biology, business administration or psychology.

“Being a charter student at GGC entailed a good deal more than just going to class,” GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said during the ceremony. “We asked our first students to help us imagine and begin to build the vision for GGC, and they responded without hesitation. These 31 explorers and their colleagues have been so much more than solely students – they have been partners in this extraordinary endeavor – and so we owe to them our appreciation as well as our admiration and respect.”

Ashly Kirkpatrick, a biology major, chose GGC after earning her associates degree, and plans to pursue her master’s degree, possibly studying neurology.

“My mom has multiple sclerosis and I would like to learn more about the disease, and possibly search for a cure,” Kirkpatrick says. “GGC has helped me meet my goals to continue my education and has prepared me well for graduate school. The professors gave me a lot of great advice and have always been there for me.”

The small classes and personal attention she received at GGC helped her thrive. “The most fantastic thing about my time at GGC would have to be the fact that professors really care about you and want you to do well and to succeed in life,” she says. “At GGC, you’re not just a number, everyone knows you by name. The time I spent at GGC was wonderful.”

The married, mother of two, Althea Aschenbrenner, “took a chance” and returned to college to earn her bachelor’s degree in business. She is now gearing up for graduate school and may end up teaching.

“The professors brought real-world experience and expectations into the classroom,” says Aschenbrenner. “They encouraged creative thinking and group work. They taught us what we are going to need to be successful in the workforce. The expectations placed on me by my professors enabled me to be a dedicated student and empowered me to complete whatever task is assigned to me and whatever challenges come my way.”

Aschenbrenner learned a new work ethic at GGC and says the dedication required of her as a student will pay dividends as she attends graduate school and seeks a career in education. “I’ve become a better all-around individual,” she says. “My time at GGC was rewarding and educational.”

GGC’s Student Government Association President Stephen Haney, who also plans to pursue a career in medicine, told his fellow graduates: “As you leave the halls of Georgia Gwinnett College, you are walking out into a big, beautiful world that will be better because you are a part of it. You also are walking out into a cold, cruel world that will be a little less cold and a little less cruel because you are a part of it. Everything you do, every decision you make will affect your life and the lives of those around you.

“We are the future. Each of you in this room will make a difference . . . Every action you take from this moment forward will change you and those around you . . . Above all, focus on your purpose.”

2009 Candidates for Graduation

BACHELOR OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

MAJOR IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Erin Renee Allen, Lawrenceville

Althea Ann-Marie Aschenbrenner, Dacula

Kimberly H. Avery, Dacula

Lauren C. Bois, Lilburn

Anne H. Choi, Duluth

Tommy Conboy, Lawrenceville

Kathryn Elizabeth Gaffney, Lilburn

James Felix Gerster, Lawrenceville

Catherine Macdonald, Lilburn

Michael R. McLaughlin, Lawrenceville

Chad Curtis Miller, Dublin

Dax A. Nolfe, Atlanta

Kristen E. Shaw, Snellville

Tripp Lee Sutter, Loganville

Saif N. Syed, Lawrenceville

Heather Marie Tournas, Dacula

Ashley Lynn Whidden, Gainesville

LaCretia M. Williams, Flowery Branch


BACHELOR OF SCIENCE

SCHOOL OF LIBERAL ARTS

MAJOR IN PSYCHOLOGY

Danielle Leigh Behning, Buford

Megan L. Stephenson, Lawrenceville

Kimberly D. Wilson, Lawrenceville

Aneesah Abdul-Rahmaan Woods, New Orleans, LA

Carolina H. Worthington, Lawrenceville


SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

MAJOR IN BIOLOGY

Christopher Alava, Miami, FL

Vera Lynn Fedorchak, Woodstock

Stephen Christopher Haney, Atlanta

Ashly J. Kirkpatrick, Lawrenceville

Daryl L. Knight, Suwanee

Angel Liddelow, Lawrenceville

Lisa B. Mose, Hoschton

Anjana J. Patel, Snellville

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