Campus News

5,374 eligible to walk in UGA’s spring Commencement ceremonies

Sen. Johnny Isakson

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will welcome its newest class of alumni on May 9. Approximately 4,269 undergraduates and 1,105 graduate students—a total of 5,374—have met requirements to walk in the university’s spring Commencement ceremonies.

Undergraduate Commencement is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium, and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will give the address.

Isakson is currently in his second term as a U.S. senator and serves on the committees on finance; health, education, labor and pensions; veterans’ affairs; and ethics. He spent 17 years in the Georgia Legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 for the first of three terms. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

A 1966 graduate of UGA, Isakson began his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County office of the family-owned Northside Realty. He later served as the organization’s president. In addition to his legislative and business accomplishments, Isakson was a member of the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972.

During the ceremony, 25 students will be recognized as First Honor Graduates for maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in all work attempted at UGA as well as all college-level transfer work attempted prior to or following enrollment at the university.

Student Commencement speaker Sarah Hughes of Norcross is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs. Her accomplishments include serving as executive director of Designated Dawgs, SGA senator for service organizations and a member of the Blue Key Honor Society, among other activities and honors.

An estimated 194 doctoral candidates and 911 master’s and specialist degree students will be eligible to walk in the graduate ceremony at 10 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. UGA dean emeritus Arthur M. “Andy” Horne will address the graduates and guests, and the university will honor retired federal judge Horace Ward—the university’s first African-American applicant—with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Ward applied to the UGA School of Law in September 1950, having just completed a master’s degree at Atlanta University. When his application to UGA was denied, Ward sought legal resolution to the matter, starting a quest said to have established an important precedent and tone in the civil rights movement in Georgia in the 1950s. After earning a law degree from Northwestern University in 1959, Ward joined the legal team—led by civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell—that represented Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault in their landmark efforts to enroll at UGA in 1961.

Ward was later elected to the Georgia General Assembly, appointed to the Civil Court of Fulton County and elevated to superior court judge. In 1979, he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He retired from his post in 2012.

Horne’s tenure at UGA started in 1989. During his final five years, he was dean of the College of Education. A distinguished research professor in counseling, Horne led improvements in faculty productivity in both outreach and research before retiring in December 2012. He remains an active adviser with the Safe and Welcoming Schools program, which was developed to increase school safety.

Horne focused his counseling research on troubled families and school-based prevention of male bullying and aggressive behavior. In 1999, he started a program to reduce violence and bullying in middle schools. The multi-state Bully Busters Project received more than $7 million in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Horne’s 2006 book, “Bully Prevention: Creating a Positive School Climate,” is based on the project.

Horne earned his doctorate at Southern Illinois University and received a master’s degree in counselor education and bachelor’s degrees in English education and journalism from the University of Florida.

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

Both ceremonies will be broadcast live on channel 15 of the university and Charter cable systems and streamed live at No backpacks, bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches or unopened packages will be allowed at either venue.

Tickets are not required for either event.

For more information on UGA graduation requirements and Commencement ceremonies, see