Georgia Gwinnett College awarded a record 505 bachelor’s degrees during its 23rd commencement ceremony on May 18 held on the college’s Library Lawn. This is the first ceremony in the college’s history in which the graduate number surpassed 500.
Adding to the day’s highlights, GGC awarded bachelor’s degrees to the college’s first Special Education Paraprofessional students, through a program developed in collaboration with colleagues at Gwinnett County Public Schools. In addition, for the first time during a commencement ceremony, the college recognized graduates who received their teacher certifications as part of their degrees in biology, English, history, mathematics and political science.
The ceremony was a celebration for graduates and their families as well as the faculty and staff who work together to foster a caring culture that revolves around student success and mentoring. GGC’s accessible, attentive and affordable model is game changing and student-centric by design.
“I came to GGC to learn how to be a good leader. After four years, I am confident that I have built a rock-solid foundation for my future. This community taught me the true meaning of leadership by example,” said graduate speaker Flurim Aliu, ’17, political science major and international student from Kosovo. “I came here with dreams; I am leaving with goals and plans on how to achieve them.”
The keynote address was delivered by Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Y. Abrams, the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives.
Abrams’ statements intertwined her fascination with dramatic television and the symbolism behind stories that capture the internal struggles of characters. “As graduates, today you join the ranks of a special ensemble cast: those who have sought and achieved higher education and who now face the ultimate cliffhanger: what next? For those who are the first, you become the next chapter in your family’s epic tale,” she said.
She encouraged the graduates to reflect upon their impact on their communities and emphasized that education is a tool that comes with responsibility. “What is demanded of you is this: that you honor the sacrifices of your parents, your families and yourself in pursuit of constant progress.”
Abrams has received the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, and has been nationally recognized as one of “12 Rising Legislators to Watch” by Governing magazine and one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend for 2012 and 2013.
The ceremony was streamed live on the internet. Visit the GGC YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/georgiagwinnett to view the recording.
I came here with dreams; I am leaving with goals and plans on how to achieve them.
– Flurim Aliu, ’17, graduate speaker
Spring 2017 Graduation Facts:
65 IT Graduates
31 Criminal Justice Graduates
505 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded
25% Graduated with honors
133 Business Graduates
27 Nursing Graduates
68 Education Graduates