Campus News

2,807 eligible to graduate in UGA’s fall Commencement ceremonies

Donna W. Hyland

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will welcome its newest alumni on Friday, Dec. 18, as 1,742 undergraduates and 1,065 graduate students—for a total of 2,807—have met requirements to walk in the university’s fall Commencement ceremonies.

The undergraduate Commencement ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum, and tickets are required. The graduate ceremony will follow at 2:30 p.m.

Donna W. Hyland, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, will deliver the fall undergraduate Commencement address.

Hyland has overseen monumental growth and achievement in her more than 29 years at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Today, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Children’s as a top pediatric hospital, and Fortune magazine lists it as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

UGA and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have a connection forged over many years by UGA Miracle, a 1,600-member student-run nonprofit organization that benefits Children’s, a branch of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide. Since 1995, UGA Miracle has donated $4.7 million to Children’s and consistently exceeds expectations for what a group of college students can accomplish for their community.

Hyland first joined Children’s as its chief financial officer. She then served as its chief operating officer before attaining her current role as president and CEO. She was instrumental during the 1998 merger of Egleston Children’s Health Care System and Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, as well as the addition of Hughes Spalding in 2006 and the Marcus Autism Center in 2008 that led to the formation of what is now one of the largest pediatric health care systems in the country.

Madeline Hill of Decatur will be the student speaker during the undergraduate exercises. She is receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology with honors from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Three students will be recognized as First Honor Graduates during the undergraduate exercises for maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in all work attempted at UGA as well as all college-level transfer work prior to or following enrollment at the university. These students are Anna Elizabeth Idenden of Macon, majoring in mathematics; Allyson Taylor Reyer of Marietta, majoring in communication sciences and disorders; and Garrett Jack Wright of Lawrenceville, double-majoring in finance and real estate.

Of the 1,065 graduate students eligible to walk at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, 300 are doctoral candidates and 765 are receiving their master’s or specialist degrees.

The university’s graduate Commencement will feature Cheryl Davenport Dozier, the 13th president of Savannah State University. In her current role, Dozier has worked to expand the institution’s global engagement, foster community partnerships and improve customer service. Under her leadership, enrollment has reached an all-time high.

Notably, Dozier serves as principal investigator for a $4 million Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions grant from the National Institutes of Health, which has helped promote minority health research and strengthen SSU’s biomedical and behavioral science research infrastructure.

Dozier spent 17 years at UGA prior to her move to SSU. During her tenure, she was associate provost and chief diversity officer for the Office of Institutional Diversity, professor in the School of Social Work and assistant vice president for academic affairs at the UGA Gwinnett campus. She directed the Ghana Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program for over a decade and is a faculty researcher with the UGA Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and a member of the faculty of social work at SSU.

Because Commencement falls on a Friday, a routine UGA workday, parking patterns on South Campus near the coliseum will be adjusted. The South Campus parking deck (S-11), Carlton Street parking deck (S-15) and Foley Field/Magill Tennis Complex lot (S-14) will be open at no charge for visitors and guests. The Hoke Smith parking lot (S-12) and sections of the Coverdell lot (S-16) will be reserved for handicapped guests with proper placards. The McPhaul Center lot (S-10) will be reserved for members of the Commencement platform party.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on channel 15 of the university cable system and channel 181 of the Charter cable system and will be streamed live at

For more information on Commencement at UGA, see