Some 440 dreams were made real at Clayton State University on Saturday, Dec. 8.
The University’s annual Fall Commencement Ceremony saw 440 individuals awarded their undergraduate or master’s degrees as part of two ceremonies in what Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. Hynes described as, “a very important day for our graduates and their families. This was a really exceptional event.”
Speaking to the graduates from the colleges of Business, Health, and Information and Mathematical Sciences at the 9 a.m. ceremony was Dr. Willie Cochran, Jr., senior vice president, Medical Affairs/CMO at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale.
The keynote speaker at the noon ceremony for the graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences was Roosevelt Giles, founder of IMS/EndPoint Consulting Group, and vice chairman of the Board of Atlanta Life Financial Group, Herndon Capital Management.
“No matter how far you go in education, it is the dedication to one’s own ideas and convictions that will set you apart,” Cochran told the audience at the 9 a.m. ceremony. In addition to his medical degree, Cochran also holds an MBA.
Cochran earned his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1979 and graduated from Methodist Hospital’s surgical residency program in 1984. He subsequently joined the teaching staff of that Indiana institution as clinical coordinator for surgical endoscopy and general surgery teaching faculty. He was part of the initial team charged with creating the trauma service at Methodist, providing 24 hour in-house coverage for accident victims in the downtown Indianapolis area. He maintained a private practice in Indianapolis until his move to Georgia in 1991.
He joined the Southern Regional Medical Center medical staff in 1992 as a general surgeon. During his tenure as part of the surgery department, he helped form Surgery South, which grew into the only multi-specialty general surgery group in the Southern Crescent. He was instrumental in bringing new technologies and procedures to the hospital, demonstrating administrative leadership and participating in the development of an in-house trauma program and statewide trauma network for Southern Regional.
In 2006, Cochran extended his duties to include hyperbaric medicine and wound care at Southern Regional. He was a leading force in directing enhancements to make that service one of the busiest in the South Metro Atlanta area. During this period of professional transition, Cochran had an opportunity to join Southern Regional Medical Center’s executive team in March 2008 as the Vice President of Medical Affairs. Realizing that further study is truly the key to success, he completed his MBA from Stetson School of Business at Mercer University in 2009.
While Giles was born in Union, S.C., as the son of sharecroppers and finding work early in life picking cotton, he quickly advanced in education, earning a B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in computer science from the University of South Carolina and Limestone College. From working the night shift at textile manufacturer Milliken and Company, he became a programmer for the same company prior to taking a job with AT&T in Network Design. In 1985, while still working at AT&T, he founded IMS/EndPoint Consulting Group, foreseeing the need for consulting, design, and management services that focused on networking-diverse computer systems to make data processing transparent to users.
Not surprisingly, Giles focused his remarks on technology, especially mobile technology.
“This is a very exciting time, and you are the first generation to be fully-connected,” he said. “The nerds have now won! Long live the nerds!
“We have not yet scratched the surface in terms of what mobile technology can do. Products and services are turning into software that allows the masses to participate. There are endless possibilities and opportunities. The answers are in your hands.”