Hundreds of students took the first step in their journey toward beginning their lives and careers as Clayton State University celebrated spring commencement on Saturday, May 6.
Graduation day began the theme of transforming oneself to become a valuable asset in the community.
Sachin Shailendra, Georgia Board of Regents member and the morning commencement speaker, shared with students his love for Clayton State and his longtime connection with the university.
“Clayton state has been a part of my life my entire life,” Shailendra said. “As a kid I used to play around the campus, my mom took classes here and my cousin graduated from the nursing school here.”
Shailendra explained to graduates that life presents challenges. He said the beginning of making change in the world starts with the individual.
“Do not quit ever. Do not quit life, do not quit learning, do not quit loving, do not quit your family, do not quit you and do not quit working hard,” he said. “No one can change the world by themselves; it only takes you to change you for the better.”
Afternoon commencement speaker Roosevelt Council Jr, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's general manager, applauded the students for the strength of their character, and encouraged them to not end the learning experience with their degree.
“What you’ve earned here today is a monumental achievement that you celebrated,” Council said. “Your future is limited only by your efforts. You are in control of your own destiny.”
He challenged the students to foster and manage their relationships for success, and lean on mentors for support.
“Find role models. Learn to accept and receive feedback,” he said. “Regardless of the type of work you do, building and maintaining relationships is fundamental, not just professionally, but personally as well.”
University President Dr. Tim Hynes shared with graduates and their families several accolades Clayton State has garnered over the past year in areas of academic excellence.
The University was ranked no. 12 among Atlanta’s 25 Largest Colleges and Universities for 2016 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Clayton State also earned the no. 1 spot for Best Value in Georgia Higher Education and was named among the top ten regional colleges and universities in the state by James Magazine. The magazine refers to the University as a “treasure.”
“Every time that Clayton State advances in education, so too does the betterment of your degree here,” he said.
View the photo gallery