GGC graduates largest class to date

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Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) awarded more than 530 bachelor’s degrees today to its largest graduating class to date. Several thousand people attended the college’s spring commencement ceremony, which was held at the Infinite Energy Center Arena in Duluth.  

The ceremony included the commissioning of two U.S. Army officers who completed the ROTC program at GGC. Judy Park, a political science major from Lawrenceville, was commissioned as an active duty military intelligence officer. First generation graduate Juan Vera, a history major from Norcross, was commissioned as an active duty infantry officer.

GGC’s scholar-athletes were also acknowledged for their academic success and national titles. Business major Kevin Konfederak of the GGC men’s tennis team was among the graduates to receive his degree during today’s ceremony. One of the most decorated athletes in GGC’s history, Konfederak is the No. 1 ranked National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tennis player in the country in both singles and doubles. He has won multiple national awards, including the best sportsmanship award for all tennis players in the NAIA all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.   

The event’s keynote address was presented by Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, president and chief executive officer of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and founding president of Georgia Gwinnett College. Today’s ceremony represented the 10th anniversary of the college’s first commencement, over which Kaufman presided in 2008.

“Leadership means commitment, dedication, engagement and continuous development. Commit yourselves to being lifelong learners and lifelong doers,” said Kaufman. “Make your world what it needs to be. Do not be deterred, be determined. You know how to imagine, how to anticipate, how to create. You did it here at GGC; now go do it in your world.”

During the ceremony, GGC President Stas Preczewski announced that the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, on the recommendation of Chancellor Steve Wrigley, had conferred on Kaufman the title of president emeritus of Georgia Gwinnett College. 

“This distinction is a permanent tribute to his service to the college,” said Preczewski. USG Regent Richard Tucker presented Kaufman with honorary academic regalia as Preczewski read excerpts from a USG proclamation noting Kaufman’s contributions during his service as president of GGC.

Graduate speaker Sara Smith of Braselton presented remarks congratulating her classmates for conquering “the college mountain” and encouraging them to conquer the other obstacles they encounter. She cited the importance of the support of her family, fellow nursing majors and GGC faculty members in overcoming medical challenges while pursuing her nursing degree.

“This close connection and support from faculty is just not something I experienced in college the first time. This is one thing that makes GGC so special and unique,” said Smith, who had attended another institution 24 years before enrolling at GGC to finish her education. 

“My wish for each of you is that for any mountain you face in life, you face it with courage and tenacity. You each have everything within you to keep climbing and conquering,” Smith said to her fellow graduates. “Your reward is waiting for you at the top.”

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