GGC graduates nearly 200 students

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Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) celebrated nearly 200 students during today’s summer commencement ceremony held in the Infinite Energy Center Arena. Family, friends, faculty and staff cheered as the graduates stood as Dr. Stas Preczewski, president, conferred their bachelor’s degrees. 

During his keynote speech, John Tien, managing director at Citigroup and a former White House policy adviser for three U.S. presidents, inspired the graduates to reflect on President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech highlighting that there is still victory in failure if one puts forth his best effort and does so with devotion. 

“Quotes from that speech remind me to be present in every moment, including this one, to always try my best, to always fight for a worthy cause,” said Tien. “I see the faces of individuals who are about to spend their lives in a worthy cause, who will dare greatly and who are ready to enter the arena.” 

Tien also encouraged the graduates to become lifelong learners. “Be humble enough to know that there is someone else out there who knows more than you and be hungry enough to dedicate yourself to becoming an expert,” he said. “Being a lifelong learner doesn’t mean you will need to obtain more degrees. It does mean, however, that you will need to recognize situations that require and deserve a dedicated effort to learn or perhaps even to re-learn.”

Business major Ana Echeverry spoke on behalf of the graduating class. A native of Colombia, she shared her ambitions as a first generation graduate to make a significant impact in her community. Having served as a youth minister for a local church, as an assistant event coordinator for a local municipality and as a marketing intern for a local non-profit that provides comprehensive support for Latino families, Echeverry’s college career has given her insight into a variety of ways that she can help others. 

“It is up to us to create the ‘better tomorrow’ that we are constantly looking for,” said Echeverry. “We must set an ethical example in our workplace, as well as in our community. We must stand up for what is right and for what we believe in. And in a time when aggressive rhetoric has become the common ‘solution’ to settle differences, we must learn to be gentle and patient, to communicate and listen, but more importantly, to collaborate and compromise.” 

Today’s ceremony brings the total number of GGC graduates to nearly 6,000.

The ceremony was streamed live on the internet. Visit the GGC YouTube channel after August 7 to view an optimized recording. 

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