Campus News Society & Culture

More than 2,700 students eligible for UGA’s fall Commencement

Jon Meacham

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will welcome its newest alumni on Dec. 16 as 1,649 undergraduates and 1,108 graduate students—for a total of 2,757—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.

Jon Meacham, a biographer and journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book about President Andrew Jackson, will deliver the fall undergraduate Commencement address.

Meacham is the author of two No. 1 New York Times best-sellers, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” and “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.” Meacham was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his book “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.”

A contributing editor of Time magazine, Meacham is a former editor of Newsweek and has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is a distinguished visiting professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and of history at The University of the South, his alma mater. While at Sewanee, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Caleb Stevens, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in business management from the Terry College of Business, will be the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.

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 Brenden Michael Hull, double-majoring in accounting and international business; Sharon Sion Park, majoring in early childhood education; and Hannah Catherine Turner, double-majoring in economics and public relations. Lindsey Kaitlyn Morton, majoring in biology, who will not be present at the ceremony, also is a First Honor Graduate.

Of the 1,108 graduate students eligible to walk at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, 300 are doctoral candidates and 808 are receiving their master’s or specialist degrees.

The university’s graduate Commencement will feature UGA alumna Tonya H. Cornileus, vice president of learning and organizational development at ESPN. She is responsible for the learning, talent management and organizational development strategies for ESPN employees around the world. She also serves as an adviser to senior management at ESPN on all matters pertaining to her field.

Prior to joining ESPN, Cornileus served as director of executive development and organizational effectiveness for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. from 2004 to 2009 and vice president of training and organizational development for Aegis Communications Group Inc. from 1998 to 2004. She began her career as an educator in various K-12 school systems from 1985 to 1996.

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) will be reserved for handicapped guests with proper placards. The McPhaul Center lot (S-10) and the Coverdell lot (S-16) 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

Note to editors: For media passes to cover Commencement, contact Sara Freeland at by Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. Media passes from previous ceremonies will not be valid.