Campus News

Commencement to mark new beginning for 3,286 students

Jack Bauerle, Michelle Garfield Cook to deliver fall Commencement addresses

The University of Georgia will welcome its newest alumni Dec. 17 as 1,888 undergraduates and 1,398 graduate students—a total of 3,286—have met requirements to walk in the university’s fall Commencement ceremonies.

Both the undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies will be held in Sanford Stadium. The undergraduate ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m., and the graduate ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are not required for graduates or guests.

Undergraduate ceremony

Jack Bauerle, the Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach at UGA, will deliver the fall undergraduate Commencement address.

Bauerle has been a part of the University of Georgia for more than 50 years, including his tenures as head coach, assistant coach and as a student-athlete. In his time overseeing UGA’s program, Bauerle has produced seven NCAA and 12 SEC crowns with the Lady Bulldogs. He has been chosen as the SEC Coach of the Year 18 times and the National Women’s Coach of the Year on seven occasions.

In 2008, Bauerle was chosen as the United States’ women’s team coach for the Olympics, leading the American women to 14 medals, the most of any nation. Under Bauerle’s leadership, Georgia has produced 87 Olympians representing 20 nations, earning 38 medals in the process.

The dean of all SEC coaches, Bauerle has been inducted into the State of Georgia, the Georgia Aquatics and the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Coaches halls of fame. He also received the Bill Hartman Award, which is one of the highest honors given to a former UGA student-athlete based on 20 years of excellence in his profession.

Meagan Perry, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in public relations, is the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.

An active member on the UGA campus, Perry has been involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America Drewry chapter—the largest student society at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication—and she acted as an event coordinator for UGA CHAARG, a health empowerment organization. She also served as a Grady ambassador, a summer staff member at the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center and as the moderator for UGA’s 2021 40 Under 40 panel.

Perry has studied abroad in Madrid, Paris and Rio. Her capstone project is a year-long public relations initiative for the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame.

Graduate ceremony

Of the 1,398 graduate students eligible to walk at the 2:30 ceremony, 372 are doctoral candidates and 1,026 are receiving their master’s or specialist degrees.

Michelle Garfield Cook, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives, will deliver the address at the graduate ceremony.

Cook co-facilitated the development of the university’s 2025 Strategic Plan and works to support multiple institutional initiatives across campus, including textbook affordability, the New Approaches to Promote Diversity and Inclusion grants program, which is sponsored by the President’s Office, and promoting female leadership development. She also chairs the university’s Diversity Advisory Council and served as an associate dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

During her tenure as associate provost, UGA has received national recognition for its work in diversity, earning the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for four consecutive years. The university’s Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion for faculty and staff also has been recognized as a national model.

Cook is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and has served as secretary and president of the Georgia Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

General information

 The University of Georgia is committed to a culture of personal accountability as part of our community-wide effort to combat COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, we ask that you do not attend the Commencement ceremony.

Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) are strongly encouraged for all graduates and guests, particularly when entering, exiting and moving throughout the stadium.

For those who cannot attend in person, a livestream of the ceremony will be available at Anyone deemed at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 by public health officials is strongly encouraged to view the livestream rather than attend the ceremony in person.

The clear bag policy is in effect for Commencement. Please follow the guidelines in the Permitted/Prohibited Items section.

Parking for Commencement is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Suggested parking areas include Hull Deck (W05), North Campus Deck (N04), South Campus Deck (S11), and Performing Arts Center Deck (E20).

More details can be found at