Alumni, musician, media executive, public health official, nonprofit executive and Pentagon analyst to speak at Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies
Georgia Southern University has named five acclaimed speakers for the University’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies on May 9, 10, 11 and 13.
Approximately 4,300 students will graduate with associates, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees this semester during five ceremonies in Statesboro and Savannah. Candidates will have the option to choose the location where they would like to graduate.
Speakers have been finalized for each ceremony. The date, colleges and speakers for each ceremony are:
Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m. – Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro Campus
Ceremony at Allen E. Paulson Stadium on the Statesboro Campus for undergraduate and graduate candidates from the College of Arts and Humanities, Waters College of Health Professions and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Monday’s speaker is R. Christopher Rustin, DrPH, M.S., REHS (’04, ’13), who currently serves a dual role as the deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the public health administrator for the Chatham County Health Department (CCHD), splitting his time between Atlanta and Savannah.
Rustin earned an associate’s degree in arts and bachelor’s degree in biology from the former Armstrong Atlantic State University before getting a master’s in technology and a doctorate in public health from Georgia Southern University.
He began his career as an intern with the Chatham County Mosquito Control Commission, leading to his first public health position with the Evans County Health Department. From there, he managed and directed environmental health programs for Effingham and Chatham County Health Departments before he transferred to DPH headquarters in Atlanta to assume leadership positions in environmental health.
Now as the deputy commissioner, he assists the commissioner with oversight of numerous public health programs, 159 County Health Departments and more than 7,000 employees statewide.
Tuesday, May 10 at 10 a.m. – Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro Campus
Ceremony at Allen E. Paulson Stadium on the Statesboro Campus for undergraduate and graduate candidates from the Parker College of Business, College of Education and the College of Science and Mathematics
Tuesday’s speaker is Travis Greene (’06), a husband, father, pastor and an award-winning gospel artist.
A management graduate from Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business, Greene and his wife Jackie (’10) launched Forward City Church in Columbia, South Carolina in 2016.
Before the pandemic, Forward City served more than 1,000 guests each weekend in a small, rented facility. The church recently purchased its first building, a former Best Buy, and celebrated their Grand Opening on March 27. In just five years, the church has expanded online and now has more than 30,000 viewers from all over the world each week.
In addition to his work as a preacher, Greene is a Grammy-nominated, Dove, Billboard and Stellar award-winning recording artist.
His music and mission work has taken him to multiple countries in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and Dubai. His latest offering, “Oil & Water,” is available on all music streaming platforms.
Wednesday, May 11 at 10 a.m. – Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro Campus
Ceremony at Allen E. Paulson Stadium on the Statesboro Campus for undergraduate and graduate candidates from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing
Wednesday’s speaker is Mike Davis (’01), a brand marketer, television producer and media executive in one of America’s leading sports entertainment industries, NASCAR.
When he was a student at Georgia Southern, he was an award-winning sports editor for The George-Anne student newspaper before finishing his student career in the athletic media relations office and graduating with a journalism degree.
In 2004, Sports Illustrated named Mike as one of “40 Under 40 With the Coolest Job In America.”
He is the founder of Dirty Mo Media, an original content company and production studio that created nationally recognized franchises such as The Dale Jr. Download, a weekly Apple Top 40 sports podcast and NBC Universal simulcast. Davis also was the executive producer and writer for the award-winning Peacock original streaming series “Lost Speedways.”
Davis is best known for his work with Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 2022 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, one of this generation’s most recognizable and successful athletes. Nineteen of Davis’ 21 years in NASCAR have been dedicated to Earnhardt Jr. ‘s businesses, starting as the racer’s publicist in 2004, becoming his road manager in 2007 and emerging as the managing director for the Dale Jr. brand in 2016.
Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m. – Savannah Convention Center, Savannah
Ceremony at the Savannah Convention Center on Hutchinson Island for undergraduate and graduate candidates from the College of Arts and Humanities, Parker College of Business, College of Education, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing
Friday morning’s speaker is Shawnte N. Craig (’03), a health science graduate of the former Armstrong Atlantic State University, who serves at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. as a weapon system sustainment analyst for the United States Space Force.
Craig was a civil servant for the United States Air Force for 18 years, working in logistics, acquisition and staff positions supporting our nation’s Space Defense Programs at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Robins Air Force Base and the Pentagon.
She transitioned to the Space Force in 2021, the newest branch of the Armed Forces, working to organize, train and equip space forces to protect U.S. and allied interests in space, and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.
A basketball player while in college, Craig was selected as a “40 Under 40 Class of 2020” for Georgia Southern University.
Friday, May 13 at 3 p.m. – Savannah Convention Center, Savannah
Ceremony at the Savannah Convention Center on Hutchinson Island for undergraduate and graduate candidates from the Waters College of Health Professions and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Friday afternoon’s speaker is Deirdre Dixon (’98), a marketing graduate from Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business, who serves as the CEO of the American Red Cross of Georgia.
Prior to joining the Red Cross, Dixon led cross-functional teams of district managers and up to 130 frontline team members at Grainger Industrial Supply as their senior director of account management sales.
She joined the Georgia Red Cross as chief development officer in December 2017. During her tenure, her team secured more than $81 million for the Red Cross mission and played a pivotal role in fundraising for local and national disaster relief operations.
Named CEO on June 1, 2021, Dixon oversees the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, statewide, by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. More than 10 million people in 159 Georgia counties benefit from the Red Cross programs under Dixon’s leadership.
For more information on Georgia Southern’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies visit: GeorgiaSouthern.edu/commencement.