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Georgia Southern first-generation student graduates magna cum laude

Jaquez Miley
Jaquez Miley

When first-generation college student Jaquez Miley graduates magna cum laude in Georgia Southern University’s Fall 2019 commencement ceremony in Savannah on Friday, 39 of his closest friends and family members will be there to cheer him on.

“I’m the first in my family,” said Miley. “It’s something that they’re very proud of because they didn’t get a chance at postsecondary education.”

For Miley, it was important to him as a first-generation college student to take his studies seriously and to be involved on campus.

“I became a resident assistant my second semester,” he says. “It helped me break out of my shell and get exposed to more people by being more open and outgoing.”

Miley also served in the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Men of Vision and Excellence, which provides a multifaceted support system for African American males entering the university, and Collegiate 100 of Georgia, a coalition of students committed to upholding the principles of education, social and cultural awareness, community service and scholarship through organized events and programs.

Within the organizations he made lasting friendships that shaped his time on campus.

“Being able to have that support system here with people I can call family has been my best collegiate experience,” says Miley. 

Miley will graduate with a degree in health sciences, with a health administration concentration and plans to take a semester off before pursuing a master’s in health administration at Georgia Southern in the fall.

After being recognized as magna cum laude, Miley’s biggest takeaway from his experience at Georgia Southern is that, “if you work hard, you can achieve anything.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 26,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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