Bainbridge State College honored 196 graduates who participated in the 41st Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 2, at the BSC Student Wellness Center Gymnasium.
The parade marshal and mace-bearer was Dr. David Byrd, BSC Professor of Math.
Dr. Jenny Harper, Associate Professor of Biology and Faculty Council Chair, was the faculty speaker. She congratulated the graduates on becoming new alumni of Bainbridge State College.
“Today you join the ranks of everyone who has preceded you—and that is a pretty amazing group to be a part of,” said Harper. “As an alumnus from the class of 1997, I am proud to represent the faculty today in honoring this graduating class and all of your achievements.”
Dr. Houston Davis, University System of Georgia (USG) Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, gave the commencement address and he was introduced by Dr. Richard Carvajal, BSC President.
Since 2012, Davis has served as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer of the University System of Georgia (USG). In his role, he is responsible for meeting the needs of more than 300,000 students and over 13,000 faculty members in all of the 30 USG institutions.
Carvajal said, “Dr. Davis is a true difference maker in our state. We are indeed honored to be joined this morning by one of our systems’ most impactful leaders.”
According to Davis, it was a pleasure to be at Bainbridge State to assist in honoring the achievements of the 2015 graduates.
“It is indeed an honor to be here today,” began Davis. “Today is a celebration of your accomplishments. It’s the end of a long path—perhaps longer for some more than others. Just know that there is much more in front of you that will ask you to bring your best effort.”
He also told the graduates their educational journey was ongoing.
He said, “Also know this is not the end of your education—whether formerly through more degrees or informally through consistent efforts to keep improving yourself. You need to keep up your spirit of curiosity—and your thirst for more knowledge and skills. People talk all the time about becoming lifelong learners. I don’t think a day goes by in my life that I don’t have an opportunity put before me to stretch myself and add to my knowledge. You should take advantage of these opportunities.”
Before ending his address, Davis taught the graduates the importance of problem solving and persistence.
“There are a lot of things you will take with you as you move to the next chapter of your life, but I am certain that these two tools [problem solving and persistence] you have learned here at Bainbridge State will continue to serve you well,” he said. “Be a problem solver is a challenge I give to all of you. You must strive to be innovative and creative. Be willing to tackle the tough issues that others will not—and be willing to go that extra mile to find the answers.
And finally, be persistent. All of you started this journey with fellow students—and for a host of reasons not all of them completed this chapter. One reason for your success is that you found a reason to move forward when everything else about the situation said for you to stay put or go backward. You were committed to finishing what you started.”
Davis wished all the graduates ‘good luck as they begin the next chapter in their incredible journeys.’
Carvajal presented Davis with a plaque on behalf of BSC’s appreciation of his support, leadership and impact on the BSC’s community.
Before the presentation of the graduates, five students were nominated for the 2015 Outstanding Graduate for BSC; which all had the top ten GPAs in their class and who have made a difference both in and out of classrooms. The nominees were Deidre Evans of Arlington, Codie Long of Bainbridge, April McNair of Climax, Emma Sainbayer of Bainbridge and Alea Simmons of Cairo.
Simmons was named the 2015 Outstanding Graduate. Dr. Tonya Strickland awarded her with a medallion.
Graduates were then presented with diplomas and the commencement concluded with the conferring of degrees by Dr. Richard Carvajal.
For the Class of 2015, 111 Associate of Arts; 30 Associate of Science; 88 Associate of Applied Science degrees; and 134 diplomas were awarded. Also, the class contained 65 honor graduates.