Campus News Society & Culture

5,552 students eligible for graduation in UGA’s 2016 spring Commencement ceremonies

Ryan Seacrest

Athens, Ga. – On Friday, the University of Georgia will welcome its newest class of alumni as approximately 4,343 undergraduates and 1,209 graduate students—for a total of 5,552—have met the requirements to walk in the university’s spring Commencement ceremonies.

The undergraduate ceremony will include an additional 765 summer candidates who were invited to participate this spring.

The undergraduate ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium, and Ryan Seacrest will give the address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university he attended as a freshman.

Other than an earned doctorate, the honorary degree is the highest recognition UGA can bestow and is given to recognize a person who has a sustained record of achievements of lasting significance.

The university is honoring Seacrest for his commitment to youth-oriented initiatives. His philanthropic efforts include his service as chairman of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which has opened 10 broadcast media centers—known as Seacrest Studios—in pediatric hospitals across the country. Seacrest is also honorary chair of the Grammy Foundation and is on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Seacrest holds pre-eminent positions in broadcast and cable television, as well as nationally syndicated radio and local radio. He is celebrated internationally as host of the top-rated prime-time talent showcase “American Idol” on Fox. He is host and executive producer of ABC’s annual New Year’s Eve program, “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” He also has an agreement with NBCUniversal that includes on-air broadcasting and producing duties across the NBC and E! networks.

On radio, Seacrest is host of “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his market-topping nationally syndicated Los Angeles morning drive-time show for iHeart Media’s 102.7 KIIS-FM, as well as a nationally syndicated Top 40 radio show. In addition to his on-air duties, he launched Ryan Seacrest Productions in 2006.

Seacrest, who attended UGA in 1992, moved to Hollywood to pursue a broadcasting career that he began as a radio intern while attending Dunwoody High School.

During the undergraduate ceremony, 36 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.

This spring, student Commencement speaker Karishma Sriram of Athens is graduating with bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and plans to attend medical school. Her accomplishments include being a Foundation Fellow and a member of the Arch Society, among many other honors.

An estimated 252 doctoral candidates and 957 master’s and specialist degree students will be eligible to walk in the graduate ceremony at 10 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work, will address the graduates and guests.

Daniels will shift his focus this summer from directing the School of Social Work to devoting more time to research-in particular his studies on the civil rights movement and his work with the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, which he co-founded in 1999 and now directs.

As dean of the School of Social Work, Daniels advanced interdisciplinary scholarship and social justice through the development of new degrees, endowed professorships and a research center. He is the author of “Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights” and “Horace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Jurisprudence.” He is the executive producer of four critically acclaimed public television documentaries, including “Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Soldier for Equal Justice,” which originally aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting in 2010.

Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work and a doctoral degree in higher education from Indiana University.

Because Commencement falls on a Friday, a routine UGA workday, parking patterns on South Campus near Stegeman Coliseum will be adjusted for graduate Commencement. The South Campus parking deck (zone S-11) and Carlton Street parking deck (zone S-15) will be open at no charge for visitors and guests. The Hoke Smith lot (S-12) adjacent to the coliseum 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 bags, purses or backpacks exceeding 8.5 inches by 11 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