GGC commencement is all about new beginnings
With the phenomenal growth of Georgia Gwinnett College over the past 10 years, it is no surprise that once again an institutional record has been broken. More than 4,500 family members, friends and supporters of the graduates gathered on the library lawn for the academic ceremony.
“Graduates, you are GGC’s largest class of degree candidates to date at 425, and the first to graduate during this, our 10th anniversary year,” said GGC President Stas Preczewski. “And while you may not have been here for the last 10 years, your success is truly the result of 10 years of dedicated service by our outstanding faculty and staff, and of the generous and enthusiastic support of the extended community gathered to celebrate your commencement today. You are living proof that the GGC model works and the very reason we commemorate this important milestone.”
Speaking on behalf of the graduating seniors, psychology major Kamisha Lancaster, Lilburn, shared her story, which began with a very special thank you to her mother and outlined her challenges as a single mother of two who was determined to succeed.
“Although today represents a great accomplishment, it is only the beginning,” said Lancaster. “Some of us will go on to graduate school, careers and study abroad, become entrepreneurs or start families. Whatever your next step is in life, I'd challenge you to embody a few things along the way … including scholarship, creativity, service and leadership. If those things sound familiar it's because those are the pillars upon which Georgia Gwinnett College stands.”
Lancaster is among the more than 20 percent of this graduating class who plan to obtain a master’s or even doctorate degrees, while others will pursue a variety of professional certifications.
His Excellency Jeremiah Sulunteh, the Ambassador of the Republic of Liberia presented the keynote address. Sulunteh is a prominent Liberian politician, administrator and professor. His career in the areas of administration, teaching and politics spans more than 30 years.
“While it is true that all who are eligible don’t choose this option, it’s undeniable that those who do, like yourselves, are involved in a tremendous and exhilarating experience which starts today,” said Sulunteh. “I bet most of you, if not all of you, are asking yourselves the question: After spending all of these years of preparation in school and today I stand with family, loved ones and friends to receive my rewards, why in the world should it be called commencement? But I feel for you that your real life is just beginning today; welcome to the university of life!”
As biology major Gabrielle Costello, Lawrenceville, accepted her diploma, she was also presented with the Legislative Resolutions acknowledging her selection as the 2015 Outstanding Scholar for GGC. An initiative of the Georgia General Assembly, Academic Recognition Day began in 1987 as a celebration of individual academic achievement and recognition of those students who exemplify that which is best about the University System of Georgia and its institutions.
Cadet Chris Lacroix, Lawrenceville, graduated and commissioned into the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. He is only the third cadet to commission in the history of GGC’s ROTC program.
This commencement also marks another important milestone for the college. Luis Victor Camargo-Fouche, Dacula, became first GGC graduate to complete the Global Studies Certification program. The certification is a campus-wide program that enhances students’ global competencies by maximizing opportunities for international experiences.
“Indeed, the world is yours and you must own it with all its challenging difficulties; including the pressing and insurmountable needs of humanity; and the uncompromising and demanding voice of social justice that refuses to be quieted by traditional means,” said Sulunteh as he addressed the graduates around the theme of impacting a global society.
During his remarks, Preczewski acknowledged that more than 100 graduates were graduating with honors. He also recognized several graduates for their accomplishments including Erika Dillingham, Lawrenceville, who will continue her internship with The Carter Center and Jose Gutierrez, Lilburn, who just returned from interning at the White House.
As a special acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of GGC’s founding, the GGC Alumni Association presented each graduate with a commemorative GGC10 lapel pin.