News and Updates

SGSC Celebrates Graduates in Spring Commencement Ceremonies

Posted on May 21, 2024

South Georgia State College celebrated its graduates during annual commencement ceremonies May 9, 2024, on the Douglas Campus and May 10, 2024, on the Waycross Campus. Family members and friends gathered to cheer on a portion of the 347 graduates from summer and fall 2023 and spring 2024.

Special recognitions for Dr. Kit Carson and Mrs. Linda Wildes were given during the Douglas Campus ceremony. Dr. Carson’s journey is one that exemplifies dedication, service and excellence. Prior to joining the SGSC faculty in 2006, Dr. Carson served in the United States Air Force for 21 years, retiring with a distinguished military career. His service included deployment to combat zones in Vietnam and various overseas assignments, demonstrating his commitment to both his country and the pursuit of knowledge.

Beginning his academic career as an assistant professor for teacher education, Dr. Carson’s passion for teaching and his expertise in the field quickly became evident. Over time, he assumed the role of chair of the education program, and his exceptional contributions led to his appointment as a professor of education. Dr. Carson’s leadership and vision were instrumental in the establishment of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education at SGSC.

Dr. Greg Tanner, interim president of South Georgia State College, recognized Dr. Carson during the ceremony and concluded by saying, “It is with great pleasure to recognize and confer the title, for your unwavering dedication and the profound impact you have made to the academic community as Chair Emeritus of Education, Professor Emeritus of Education with all rights and privileges given to you with this title.”

Ms. Linda Wildes was also honored during the Douglas Campus ceremony and described as a dedicated and passionate individual who has devoted an astounding 65 years of service to SGSC beginning in 1959. Throughout Ms. Wildes’s tenure, she has had the privilege of working for every president of the college, except for the founding president, Joseph Thrash.

“Throughout her remarkable career, Mrs. Wildes has worn many hats and served in various capacities. Her unwavering dedication and remarkable work ethic have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and students alike. She has played a pivotal role in shaping the college’s administrative operations, ensuring the smooth functioning of various departments, and providing invaluable support to the presidents she has worked alongside,” stated Dr. Tanner. “On behalf of the entire South Georgia State College community, I extend our deepest gratitude to you. Thank you, Mrs. Wildes, for your 65 years of service, and for embodying the true spirit of dedication and loyalty.”

Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs of the Supreme Court of Georgia provided the commencement address at the 12:30 pm ceremony on the Waycross Campus. After sharing his story of being a Waycross native and someone who had attended Waycross College in the early times of his educational journey, Chief Justice Boggs told the students how his hard work had paid off for him. “The seeds of success were planted in me and those dividends that I would reach came later,” Chief Justice Boggs said. “By undertaking the courses of study that got you here today, you, too, have been planting seeds for your future. However, you should know your hard work is not over. In many ways, today is only the beginning for each of you. Your hard work and sacrifice have a means to an end.”

Chief Justice Boggs encouraged the students to simply remember a piece of advice from him. “Bloom where you are planted. Do the best at whatever you do and have a vision,” he said. “Let today be a day of new visions and a renewed purpose. South Georgia State College has positioned you to do that. Indeed, your education has provided you with the direction needed to accomplish your vision.” He encouraged the graduates to be prepared to succeed in life and to contribute to the community and the state by using the degrees they earn to enter fields where they can be change agents. In conclusion, he said, “You have the ability to make a difference in your community, and I challenge you to do that.”

Mr. Dale Neely, Chief Executive Officer at Memorial Satilla Health, provided the commencement address at the 7:00 pm ceremony on the Waycross Campus.

Mr. Neely shared with the graduates how he is able to witness the profound impact individuals can have on the world around them each and every day. He realizes what he experiences within the walls of the Memorial Satilla Health will translate to any career field or professional pursuit.

Mr. Neely believes in cornerstones that can be used for success in life. He encouraged the graduates to embrace a spirit of compassion and empathy, believe in the power of collaboration and consider lifelong learning as a mindset, a way of approaching the world with curiosity, humility and a thirst for knowledge.

“As you set out on this next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to carry these principles with you —compassion, collaboration, and a commitment to lifelong learning,” he said. “By doing so, you will not only achieve success in your chosen field but also make a positive impact on the world around you.”

SGSC Interim President Dr. Greg Tanner greeted guests and spoke words of encouragement at the ceremonies. “Your education has equipped you with the tools to tackle the complex problems of our time, to think critically, and to find innovative solutions. Embrace this responsibility with humility, empathy, and commitment to service,” he said. “Today, we celebrate your achievements, but tomorrow the world awaits your contributions.”

Following the ceremonial moving of the tassels at each ceremony, Dr. Tanner offered his congratulations to the graduates. “Congratulations, you are now alumni of South Georgia State College,” he said. “May your accomplishment inspire future generations and continue to be a testament to the transformative power of higher education.”

# # #

photos of graduation speakers