Society & Culture

Tom Dyer, Richard Meagher to speak at UGA fall commencement ceremonies

Tom Dyer, Richard Meagher to speak at UGA fall commencement ceremonies

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s fall semester commencement ceremonies Dec. 15 will feature speeches by two of UGA’s leading scholars, historian Tom Dyer and genetics professor Richard Meagher.

Dyer, who retired from UGA last December after 31 years, will speak at the ceremony for undergraduates at 9:30 a.m. Meagher, an internationally known authority on plant molecular genetics, will speak at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony for students receiving master’s, doctoral and specialist in education degrees. Both ceremonies will be 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. 14.

“Tom Dyer and Rich Meagher have distinguished themselves through exemplary scholarship and high achievements in their respective fields,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “They have brought great honor to the University of Georgia, and our graduating students will be privileged to hear their messages of wisdom and inspiration.”

Dyer joined UGA in 1975 as a temporary instructor in the history department and rose to become professor of history and higher education. He also held a number of administrative positions including vice president for instruction, associate vice president for services, associate vice president for academic affairs and interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. When he retired, he was University Professor and director of the Institute of Higher Education.

He served as chairman of the university’s Bicentennial observance in 1984-85 and is author of three books including The University of Georgia: A Bicentennial History, 1785-1985, considered the definitive academic history of UGA. He served seven years as editor of the Georgia Historical Quarterly and was chairman of the editorial board of The New Georgia Guide.

Meagher, who joined UGA in 1976, is a Distinguished Research Professor of genetics and a former head of the genetics department. He is a world authority on phytoremediation, the technique of using genetically engineered plants to remove harmful substances such as mercury and arsenic from soil and water.

He has received more than $20 million in research grants and has published more than 140 articles in leading scientific journals. He is co-founder of two startup companies in Athens and one in Korea based on phytoremediation technology. Earlier in his career, he co-founded one of the first computing networks in the world to analyze DNA, RNA and protein sequences.

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