Georgia State will confer 118 doctoral degrees and 2,369 bachelor, master and specialist degrees, for a total of 2,513 expected graduates this fall.
Dec. 7, 2009
By Elizabeth Klipp, 404-413-1356
For eight years, Georgia State University has been Mikel Walters’ academic home, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student studying sociology. On Sunday, she’ll earn her doctoral degree during an intimate hooding ceremony with her mentor by her side and family in the audience. It’s a special way, Walters says, to celebrate her achievement and thank those who supported her most.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Walters, who is already working as a public health research analyst at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a position she landed with the help of her mentor, associate professor of sociology Denise Donnelly. “Thankfully, I already have a job. But it’s sad to be leaving my sociology family and my Georgia State family.”
Georgia State’s 95th commencement will continue the university’s tradition of two ceremonies to recognize the diverse accomplishments of graduates.
The PhD. commencement and hooding ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 in the Rialto Center for the Arts, followed by the bachelor, master and specialist commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 in the Georgia Dome.
Georgia State will confer 118 doctoral degrees and 2,369 bachelor, master and specialist degrees, for a total of 2,513 expected graduates. The numbers include both summer graduates and fall degree candidates.
Georgia State’s new Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Risa Palm will be the keynote speaker for the doctoral hooding ceremony. She will urge doctoral candidates to share their education with the next generation.
“Just as your families have given to you – just as your faculty mentors have given to you – I challenge you today: Pass that generosity on to those who follow you,” Palm will say. “If you will be a faculty member, or if you choose another field, keep the chain of achievement going."
For the ceremony in the Georgia Dome, Neville Isdell, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company, will give the commencement speech. Isdell retired in April 2009, after 43 years with the Coca-Cola system. He will receive an honorary degree from GSU, as will Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, the founding dean and first president of Morehouse School of Medicine, who spoke at spring 2009 commencement.
Georgia State President Mark P. Becker will preside over the commencement ceremonies, his second since taking the reins last January.
“Your years of hard work and dedication to your academic success have paid off,” Becker said in a letter to graduates. “On behalf of the entire Georgia State University community, please accept my sincere congratulations on your impending graduation.”
Senior Alan Copenhaver, an Honors scholar earning a B.S. in biology, said he’s excited to be graduating but will miss Georgia State.
Not only did Copenhaver enjoy the university’s rigorous honors courses and his experience as a research lab assistant, he enjoyed staying friends with students he met his freshman year and living in downtown Atlanta.
“We have so many downtown opportunities like the CDC, the aquarium and other universities nearby to collaborate with,” he said. “There are more possibilities than just in your average college town.”
For more information, including parking instructions and a schedule of events, please visit www.gsu.edu/commencement.