Athens, Ga. – Donald R. Eastman, president of Eckerd College in Florida and formerly a vice president at the University of Georgia, will be the speaker for UGA’s fall semester undergraduate commencement Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.
Harriet Mayor Fulbright, president of the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center in Arlington, Va., will speak at commencement for graduate students at 2:30 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.
The ceremonies will be for students who complete degree requirements at the end of fall semester. The number of students eligible to participate won’t be known until the end of final exams on Dec. 17.
Eastman has been president of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg since 2001. Previously he was at UGA for 10 years where he served as vice president for development and university relations and vice president for strategic planning and public affairs.
Fulbright, the widow of the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, is an educator and arts advocate who works closely with the Fulbright Scholarship Program and lectures worldwide on the importance of international education and collaboration.
“President Eastman has a distinguished career in higher education, including his service at UGA, that has led him to enjoy much success as a college president,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “During his tenure at UGA, he ably led the institution through a very complex strategic planning process that resulted in the plan that guides us still today.
“Harriet Fulbright is an eloquent and respected champion for international cooperation through education, and a recognized leader in enhancing America’s cultural life through the arts and humanities. We are pleased to have these outstanding speakers to impart words of wisdom and encouragement to our graduates.”
Since Eastman became Eckerd’s president, applications to the college’s residential program have increased 58 percent, enrollment has climbed and alumni donations through the annual fund have more than doubled. The college has invested more than $32 million in new construction, including a $15 million library and an $11 million residence hall, and Eckerd has been ranked the nation’s top baccalaureate institution in the proportion of undergraduates who study abroad.
As UGA’s vice president for development and university relations Eastman managed a fund-raising program that completed a $150 million capital campaign and doubled private giving. In addition to leading development of UGA’s comprehensive strategic plan as vice president for strategic planning and public affairs, he also helped lay the groundwork for the Archway to Excellence campaign and had a key role in establishing UGA’s campus in Gwinnett County that evolved into Georgia Gwinnett College.
Before coming to UGA, Eastman was acting vice president for university relations at Cornell University, and before that he was at the University of Tennessee as executive assistant to the chancellor and executive director of university communications.
The J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center, which Harriet Fulbright leads, works to advance the late senator’s vision of world peace and conflict resolution through international collaborations and education. Fulbright speaks extensively in America and other countries to promote the center’s principles and programs and encourage leaders to work for global cooperation.
The center works closely with the Fulbright Scholarship Program and Fulbright was an ambassador for the program’s 50th anniversary, traveling to five continents to speak about the importance of international education exchange.
A strong advocate for the arts, she served from 1997-2000 as executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and was also executive director of the International Child Art Foundation and president of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum. She has received numerous awards including five honorary doctorates and Rotary International’s One Person of the Year Award.