First fall graduation ceremonies set for Dec. 17

The University will establish a new tradition when it holds commencement ceremonies on Dec. 17.

It will be the first Fall commencement in our history. Historically, the college held commencement only in the Spring at the Macon Coliseum or at Morris Gymnasium on the Cochran Campus. Also, it will be the first commencement of any kind since the institution became a University in July.

The Fall ceremonies will take place in the Recreation and Wellness Center on the Macon Campus. More than 450 students are candidates for graduation, including more than 295 who will receive bachelor’s degrees.

Two ceremonies will be held. The first, at 10 a.m., is for students graduating from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Education. The second, at 3 p.m., is for candidates graduating from the Schools of Aviation, Business, Health Sciences and Information Technology.

Both ceremonies will be livestreamed here.

The keynote speaker for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Larry Walker, a member of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. For the 3 p.m. ceremony, University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby will be the keynote speaker. Miguel Carmona, president of the Student Government Association, will speak at both ceremonies, as will Middle Georgia State University Foundation Trustee and Alumna Nylan A. Hinson, Middle Georgia College Class of 1990.

A highlight of each ceremony will be the procession of graduates across the lake bridge that connects the heart of the Macon Campus with the Recreation and Wellness Center on the north end. Video screens will be set up at various locations on campus where overflow audiences can watch graduates collect their diplomas. Following each ceremony, families and friends can gather for group photo opportunities at designated locations on campus.

To accommodate the ceremonies, operations at the Recreation and Wellness Center are being modified this week. The facility’s basketball arena will be closed all week. Other sections of the Wellness Center will be open Monday, Tuesday and Friday, Dec. 14, 15 and 18, but will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 16-17.

Here are the number and types of degrees that are expected to be conferred at the ceremonies:

•         College of Arts and Sciences:  Bachelor of Arts, 19; Bachelor of Science,  76; Associate of Arts, 34; Associate of Science, 72; Certificate, 3
•         School of Aviation: Bachelor of Science, 36; Associate of Applied Science, 19; Associate of Science, 2; Certificate, 11
•         School of Business: Bachelor of Science,  52; Associate of Science, 19
•         School of Education: Bachelor of Science, 7; Associate of Arts, 1; Associate of Science, 4
•         School of Health Sciences: Bachelor of Science, 73; Associate of Science, 14
•         School of Information Technology: Bachelor of Science, 35; Associate of Science, 1; Certificate, 1

Changes also are being made to the University’s traditional Spring commencement. Instead of two ceremonies in one day, graduation events will take place over two days in the Recreation and Wellness Center on the Macon Campus:

•         May 11 (Wednesday): pinning ceremony (10am) and graduation (3pm) for the School of Health Sciences
•         May 12 (Thursday): for the College of Arts & Sciences and the Georgia Academy (10am); for the Schools of Aviation, Business, Education and Information Technology (3pm)

About the commencement speakers:

Larry Walker, a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and a long-time advocate for higher education opportunities in Middle Georgia, is an attorney with Walker, Hulbert, Gray & Moore. He served in the Georgia General Assembly for more than 30 years, where he served as Administration Floor Leader for Governor Joe Frank Harris and as Majority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1986-2002. Walker also served as Chairman of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation for four years and was named one of “The 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in Georgia” by Georgia Trend for 12 straight years. Most recently, he served on the Georgia Department of Transportation Board, representing the Eighth Congressional District. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

Prior to becoming Chancellor, Hank Huckaby was a teacher and administrator in the University System and has taught at private colleges and universities. He also served in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, first as a senior policy coordinator and later as its director, as well as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and as the executive director of the Georgia Residential Finance Authority. Huckaby has represented Georgia House District 113 as a Republican. He is a board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. He was a member of the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative Steering Committee in 2011 and currently serves on the Georgia Higher Education Funding Committee. He was inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration in November 2014.