Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will confer degrees on an estimated 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students at the spring Commencement ceremonies Friday, May 11.
About 1,150 candidates for master’s, doctoral and specialist in education degrees will be eligible to participate in the ceremony for graduate students at 10 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Friday evening, approximately 4,250 students will be eligible to receive bachelor’s degrees at the undergraduate ceremony, which will be held at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will deliver the Commencement address for the undergraduate ceremony. As Georgia’s 82nd governor, Deal has a long career in law and politics. He attended Mercer University in Macon, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees with honors. His career includes 23 years in private law practice, and his public service includes work as a criminal prosecutor, a juvenile court judge, 12 years in the state Senate and nine terms in the U.S. Congress. While in the Senate, he was elected president pro tem, the highest-ranking senator. In Congress, he served as chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee on health, and was considered an expert on health care issues and a leader in immigration reform.
Peter McDonald of Decatur will provide the undergraduate student address. A member of the Honors Program, McDonald was a UGA Presidential Scholar and a recipient of the Honors International Scholarship. In addition, he was a recent member of Leadership UGA; a Grady Ambassador, chosen to represent the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at various events; a student judge for the Peabody Awards; a student volunteer at NewSource 15; and the director of Case Administration for the University Judiciary. Last summer, McDonald studied journalism at Phnom Penh in Cambodia. After graduation, he will work with Teach For America for two years.
Twenty seniors who maintained perfect 4.0 grade point averages during their academic career will be recognized as First Honor Graduates. A fireworks show will conclude the undergraduate Commencement ceremony.
Prior to the ceremony, the UGA Alumni Association will distribute bottles of cold water for those waiting to take photos of their graduates at the university’s Arch at the historic entrance into campus.
Lindsay R. Boring, director of the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway in southwest Georgia, will speak at the graduate Commencement exercise earlier that morning. As director, Boring leads the conservation, research and educational programs of the Ecological Research Center, which is sponsored by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. An alumnus of UGA, Boring’s personal research interests include topics in forest ecology related to forest management, such as fire ecology, productivity and biogeochemical cycles. He has published more than 40 journal articles, advised graduate students, served on 50 graduate advisory committees, served on numerous conservation and research advisory boards, and is a member of the UGA Graduate School Board. He currently serves on the graduate faculty of the University of Georgia and the University of Florida.
The university has developed a new Commencement website, which offers complete details on related graduation activities being hosted by UGA’s various colleges and schools, inclement weather plans, and other information pertinent for graduates, their families and persons interested in attending the ceremonies. The site is www.commencement.uga.edu.