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Georgia Southern University Celebrates Fall 2009 Commencement

12-16 Georgia Southern University Holds Fall CommencementGeorgia Southern University honored more than 1,300 graduates and their families today at the Fall 2009 Commencement at Hanner Fieldhouse.

The Fall 2009 graduates represented 27 countries and 22 states; however, 92 percent of the graduates were native Georgians. The youngest graduate was Brian Moore, 20, and the oldest was Daniel Rose, 62.

The graduating class included 26 doctoral degree recipients, 186 master’s degree recipients and 1,072 bachelor’s degree recipients. Also, 27 students were awarded education specialist degrees and 20 students received online degrees.

While it was a special day for all 1,311 graduates, Scott Whittington of Thomasville, Ga., took to a unique journey to graduation day. His degree in history will go alongside the Purple Heart he received after being wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2003. Whittington attended Georgia Southern on the G.I. Bill after four years in the Army, and he said he ‘came back a better student for it.”

“I can honestly tell you that I have never stressed over a test or a 16-page paper. That’s nothing compared to being up for 48 hours staring into the darkness,” Whittington said.

Tyler Davis of Augusta benefitted from a different type of real-world experience  the 280-hour internship he needed to earn his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. ‘It is the most valuable job I have on my resume because it’s real-world information technology experience. I am very grateful I gained that here,” Davis said.

One of Davis’ IT classmates, David Berger of Athens, said he was excited to follow in the footsteps of his father and three brothers as college graduates. ‘Georgia Southern was a good fit for me. It was my home away from home,” Berger said.

The Fall Commencement was the final graduation for Bruce Grube, who is stepping down after 10 years as Georgia Southern University President. Grube paid tribute to the Georgia Southern faculty, describing them as ‘collectively the heart of this University” and ‘mentors of these graduates. Each graduate will have his or her own special story about a professor whose inspiration and interest influenced that student’s success.”

The speaker for the day’s first ceremony, Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, encouraged the graduates not just to find work to do, but to find a calling. ‘Every one of you has something great to contribute to the world,” he said. ‘The mark you leave on the world will be seen well beyond the place you work.”

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers 115 degree programs serving 19,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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