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Fall 2023 Commencement

Commencement is a celebration of new beginnings! On December 8 and 9, we will be celebrating the commencing of a new phase of life for our Clayton State graduates. Along with families and friends, we will be recognizing our graduates for their great achievement.

View the commencement program

Ceremony Dates and Times

Friday, December 8, 2023
3:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 9, 2023
9:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.

Ceremonies held in the Athletics Center.

Ceremony Frequently Asked Questions

Guests who do not have tickets can view the ceremony from the Student Activities Center Ballroom. View the map below for the exact locations of these alternate viewing areas.

No helium balloons are allowed in any buildings.

Commencement Ceremony FAQs

Ceremony Photos

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Live Streams

All live streams will be available 15 minutes before each ceremony time.

View the live streams

Commencement Speakers

Jeff Jacobs

Jeff Jacobs

Jeff Jacobs currently serves as dean of students at Clayton State University and is retiring as of January 2024.  A 29-year veteran of the university, Jacobs has held an array of positions at the University including interim vice president of student affairs, associate dean of students, director of housing, director of student life and orientation, and assistant director of student activities.

Throughout his tenure at the University, Jacobs has served on a number University System steering and advisory committees and has led numerous initiatives at Clayton State along with managing a number of units within the Division of Student Affairs.

A native of western Pennsylvania, Mr. Jacobs earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Anna Roach

Anna Roach

Anna Roach is Executive Director & CEO of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) whose vision is to create One Great Region through its mission to foster thriving communities for all within the Atlanta region through collaborative, data-informed planning and investments.

As Executive Director & CEO, Ms. Roach manages the agency’s $125M operating budget and leads a talented team that works with local governments and community partners to improve quality of life in the Atlanta region. In addition to developing and maintaining long-range, comprehensive, regional plans in the areas of transportation, aging, workforce development, natural resources, and urban area security, ARC deploys nearly $3B of investments across the Atlanta region on an annual basis.

In addition to her role as CEO, Roach is a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club, the International Women’s Forum Georgia, and the Women’s Transportation Seminar. She also serves on the Leadership Council of the Board for Drawdown Georgia, the Executive Committee of the Board for Learn4Life, the board of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, and the board of Council for Quality Growth.

Roach has been named one of the 100 most influential Georgians by Georgia Trend, one of the 500 most powerful Atlanta leaders by Atlanta Magazine, one of 22 leaders to watch in 2022 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and is one of Engineering Georgia’s top 100 Most Influential Women in Georgia Engineering.

Prior to joining ARC as its first female CEO in the 75-year history of the organization, Anna Roach served as Chief Operating Officer for Fulton County Government. Her earlier career as an attorney included roles in both the private and public sectors.

Roach holds a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the State University of New York, College at Cortland.

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith

Dr. Anthony W. Smith was appointed by the Clayton County Board of Education on December 5, 2022, to serve as the Interim Superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools. On June 27, 2023, during a scheduled Work Session, the Board amended and extended his contract making him Superintendent/CEO of Schools. Prior to his initial appointment, Dr. Smith served as Clayton County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent of Governmental Relations, Partnerships, and Operations. As Superintendent/CEO, Dr. Smith leads one of the nation’s top 100 largest school districts and the sixth largest school systems in the State of Georgia. Dr. Smith has several years of experience and notable accomplishments in a variety of leadership roles throughout his tenure in the school district. Beginning his career with CCPS in 1995 as a Computer Technology teacher, he was a classroom instructor for four years before being selected to serve in a variety of administrative positions in multiple school systems. These administrative roles include assistant principal and principalships at the middle and high school levels, Chief Academic Officer, Assistant Superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent. Additionally, Dr. Smith previously served eight honorable years in the United States Air Force and three years as a branch president in the financial industry.

Due to his deep roots and strong community ties throughout Clayton County, Dr. Smith is highly regarded as a dedicated leader with a transformative and innovative approach to education and those elements designed to improve the educational experience and outcomes of all students. As Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Smith was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Clayton County Public Schools Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars used to support Clayton County Public Schools students by providing thousands of scholarships to graduating seniors and sponsoring numerous employee initiatives. 

As a direct result of his nearly 30 years of service in the field of education and working collaboratively with numerous business, collegiate, and religious community leaders, he has received multiple recognitions including but not limited to the Outstanding Servant in Educational Leadership Award (2015 - Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County); Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Vision (2016 - Elite Scholars Charter School); Living Legend Award (2016 - Forest Park Ministers Association) and an Appreciation Award (2022 - Clayton County Office of Economic Development). Dr. Smith has also received numerous United States Armed Forces awards and decorations associated with his distinguished service in the military.

Dr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from New Hampshire College, a Master of Science in Business Education from Southern New Hampshire University, and a Master of Science in Education Leadership from Jacksonville State University. In addition, he holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University and a Doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University. Professionally, Dr. Smith has completed the Urban Superintendent Academy sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in Washington, DC, the Aspiring Superintendents Institute sponsored by the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSC) in Chicago, Illinois, the Power of 100 Leadership Development, Georgia School Leadership for School Improvement (GLISI), and the Governor’s School Leadership Institute. He also maintains membership in the National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Association of School Administrators, Georgia Educator Association, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, and the Clayton County Educators Association.

Additional previous roles and appointments include serving as Governing Board Council for Elite Scholars Academy and Board Member of Rainbow House Emergency Shelter for Children. Dr. Smith’s civic and social activities include being a member of the Masonic Order (Prince Hall), the Stockbridge-Jonesboro Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, and a member of New Hope Methodist Church.  When not working, Dr. Smith enjoys golfing, boating, traveling in his RV, trying new restaurants, attending sporting events, going to plays and concerts, and spending time with his family and friends. He has two adult children (Chris and Briana) and two grandchildren (Asianne and Rami) who he adores.

Student Commencement Speakers

Daishai Johnson

Daishai Johnson is a 2023 candidate for the Bachelor of Science in Psychology & Human Services.  Originally from Akron, Ohio, Johnson is a graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, GA.   Johnson  currently works for JP Morgan & Chase as an associate banker and is mother to a 9-year-old daughter.

Johnson also spends time volunteering with such organizations as Atlanta Victims Assistance, Habitat for Humanity, and Trees Atlanta and she is a member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Johnson plans to attend law school in fall 2024, specializing in an area that would enhance the well-being of underrepresented communities.

Kiara Riley

Kiara Riley is a 2023 candidate for the Master of Public Administration and in 2022 she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science also from Clayton State University.

As a graduate student, Riley served as a graduate teaching assistant.  While earning her baccalaureate degree, she served as founding member and president of the disability social club.  She is the recipient of the Marteace Lochkhart Disability Resource Center Champion Award as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award (Political Science).

Kiara is pursuing a career in public policy.