More than 500 students gathered inside Clayton State University’s Athletics Center on Saturday, May 5, to accept their diplomas and begin the next chapter in their lives and careers.
“This day gives us an opportunity to celebrate your student achievements,” said Dr. Tim Hynes, president of Clayton State University.
Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences at the 9 a.m. ceremony were encouraged by commencement speaker and alumnus Dr. Branko Skorvrlj to focus on five principles to guarantee success in their lives and careers: have vison, think big, ignore the naysayers, work hard, and give back.
“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pocket,” he said.
Antwaunette Rzaguliyev, student speaker and legal studies major, challenged her classmates to know when to ask the right questions and look within to grow and persevere.
“There is a power in analyzing and oneself to improve in areas we didn’t even know we lacked initially,” she said. “I challenge you to use your experiences not just as students while you’re here at Clayton State, but as sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, family, to help others in their academic and life journeys.
Latitia Boyd Carley, a psychology student, was honored with a posthumous degree by the University. Carley had worked with the alumni association and volunteered in the Center for Academic Success and was recognized by faculty for possessing a joyful disposition and kind and friendly spirit. Her degree was accepted on her behalf by her mother, Rose Boyd, and family.
At the noon ceremony, seniors graduating from the College of Business, College of Health, and College of Information and Mathematical Sciences heard a rousing speech from commencement speaker Dr. Lisa Smith, regional director for Georgia Power’s Metro South Region.
Smith encouraged students to strive for more in their lives and careers in order to broaden and deepen their insight into the world around them.
“You are flying high today, but I would like to encourage you to continue to set goals that allow you to flyer even higher,” she said. “You will transition from striving to make a difference to being the difference.”
Moroni de Moors, student speaker and a health and fitness management major, inspired his fellow classmates to meet new people, seek opportunities to grow, and find a way to make a difference.
“Conditions in this world cannot and will not change if we do not move to change them,” he said. “We all have greatness inside of us, we are all successful.”
Part of graduating for the students is that they become a longtime member of the Laker family. Alumni Association Board Member Lisa Conley encouraged the students to reflect on the hard work and dedication it took to finish college and realize their degree can take them far.
“As you prepare to embark on the next phase of your life, remember it is not just you against the world–you are part of a network of 25,000 Clayton State alumni,” Conley said.
Clayton State also awarded honorary doctorate degrees to two prominent supporters of Spivey Hall.
Robert “Bob” Edge, senior counsel for leading international law firm Alston & Bird, and Alexander “Alex” Crumbley, former state senator, judicial court judge and founder of Crumbley Law Firm will both receive honorary doctorate degrees.
Both men played a critical role in the establishment of Spivey Hall, Clayton State’s performance art venue, and brought leadership to the Walter and Emilie Spivey Foundation, Inc.
View the Commencement Photo Gallery