News and Updates

South Georgia State College Announces 2024 Commencement Ceremonies

Posted on May 01, 2024

South Georgia State College (SGSC) is pleased to announce its annual commencement ceremonies honoring graduates from summer 2023, fall 2023 and spring 2024.

The Douglas Campus ceremony will be held Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 8:30 am on the Peterson Hall front lawn. The Waycross Campus ceremonies will be held Friday, May 10, 2024. The first ceremony will be at 12:30 pm, and the second at 7:00 pm, both in the Waycross Campus Gymnasium.

A livestream of each event will be available for those unable to attend to share in the celebration. A link to the livestream will be found on www.sgsc.edu close to the date of the ceremonies.

Special recognitions will be given during the commencement ceremony for the Douglas Campus.  Included in the recognitions will be Linda Wildes and Dr. Kit Carson.

Linda Wildes has been an integral part of the South Georgia College community, dedicating an impressive 65 years of service. Her journey began in 1959 when she transitioned from the local Board of Education to a role in the Admissions and Registrar office. From the moment she joined SGC, she recognized it as a place worth the commitment.

Throughout her time at the college, Mrs. Wildes has held various positions in different departments including the Computer Center, Research and Planning Office, Dean’s Office (now known as the Vice President of Academic Affairs), and finally the President’s Office. She has witnessed significant transformations during her tenure, notably in the college’s enrollment growth and advancements in technology. Drawing a comparison between typewriters and computers, she humorously recalls the challenges of correcting mistakes with six carbon copies.

For Mrs. Wildes, the true essence of the college lies in its people. She fondly reminisces about the countless memories of faculty, staff and students over the years and is thankful for the many opportunities SGSC has provided for her.

Dr. Kit Carson has a distinguished career in education, beginning with his honorable retirement from the United States Air Force in the late 1980s after 21 years of service, which included two combat tours in Vietnam and various overseas assignments. Transitioning into the realm of training and workforce development, Dr. Carson demonstrated his commitment to fostering learning beyond military service.

His journey led him to the field of elementary education, where he assumed the role of Director of the Afterschool Program at Eastside Elementary School in Douglas. Under his guidance, the program earned acclaim, being mentioned as “most impressive” by state auditors.

In 2006, Dr. Carson embarked on a new chapter at South Georgia College, initially joining as an Assistant Professor for Teacher Education. Over time, became the Chair of the Teacher Education Program and a Professor of Education. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Bachelor of Elementary and Special Education program at South Georgia State College. Dr. Carson played a key role in its development and navigated it through the program approval process of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, thereby facilitating local students’ access to teacher certification without leaving the area. This program encompassed certification, field placement in local schools, and mentor teacher training and assessment. A Para-to-Teacher program was also initiated to further help increase the number of qualified teachers in the service area.

In July 2023, Dr. Carson concluded his career at SGSC, leaving behind a legacy of educational excellence and tireless advocacy for student success.

Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs of the Supreme Court of Georgia will provide the commencement address at the 12:30 pm program on the Waycross Campus.

Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia on December 7, 2016, by Governor Nathan Deal and re-elected statewide in 2018. Previously, Chief Justice Boggs served in elective office as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia, as a Superior Court Judge for the Waycross Judicial Circuit, and as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Chief Justice Boggs was raised in Waycross and obtained an Associate of Arts Degree in Pre-Law from Waycross Junior College in 1984, followed by his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Psychology from Georgia Southern College in 1985. In 1990, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University School of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and the ABA/Law School Division moot court competition team, was awarded membership in the Order of Barristers, and was elected to the Student Government Association.

Following his graduation from law school, Chief Justice Boggs practiced insurance defense litigation in Atlanta until returning to Waycross. He maintained a general civil trial practice in Waycross until his election to the Superior Court bench. In 2000, he won election as a State Representative to the Georgia General Assembly, where he served on the Judiciary, Public Safety, and Government Affairs Committees, and as chair of the Probate Law and Elections Law subcommittees. He was selected as the Outstanding Freshman Member of the General Assembly by the Legislative Alumni Association in 2002 and was also recognized by the Editors of Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “40 under 40” leaders in Georgia.

After his election to the Superior Court in 2004, Chief Justice Boggs founded the Waycross Judicial Circuit Drug Court Program, served as its Presiding Judge, and served as a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Standing Committee on Accountability Courts. In 2007, he received recognition for his support of the Magnolia House Shelter for abused women and child victims of domestic violence in Waycross and was awarded the Boy Scouts of America “Golden Eagle” Award for his service to the community.

Chief Justice Boggs serves as a member of Governor Brian Kemp’s Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, where he serves as chairman of the Mental Health Courts and Corrections subcommittee. He also serves as an appointee of Governor Kemp to the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission.

Chief Justice Boggs received the prestigious St. Thomas More Award from the St. Thomas More Society of Atlanta for his work in leading the state in criminal justice reform, and in 2019 received the “Spirit of Justice” award from the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia.

Chief Justice Boggs serves as Chairman of the Judicial Council of Georgia, the policy-making body for the judicial branch that includes the State Bar President and 27 judges who represent the appellate courts and all classes of trial courts in the state. In 2023 Chief Justice Boggs was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices, an organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice, rules and methods of procedure, and the organization and operation of state courts and judicial systems. Chief Justice Boggs also serves as a member of the Mercer University Board of Trustees, the Mercer University School of Law Board of Visitors, and the Board of Directors of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.

Chief Justice Boggs lives in Pierce County with his wife Heather, a kindergarten teacher in the Ware County public school system.

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

Mr. Dale Neely was named Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Satilla Health in Waycross in March 2023 where he leads a team of more than 600 employees, physicians, and volunteers. Memorial Satilla Health serves as a regional referral center for more than 185,000 residents across nine South Georgia counties. As part of HCA Healthcare, the hospital is committed to the care and improvement of human life.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Mr. Neely graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in physical therapy. He received his Master of Business Administration Degree from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in May 2003 with a concentration in finance and healthcare.

Mr. Neely began his career with the staff of Healthsouth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and Vanderbilt University Medical Center before joining HCA Healthcare’s Emory Peachtree Regional Hospital in 2002. His work with HCA Healthcare allowed him to provide additional administrative leadership for Redmond Regional Medical Center (Rome, GA), Doctors Hospital (Columbus, GA), and HCA Florida Capital Hospital (Tallahassee, FL). Mr. Neely was named Chief Executive Officer of Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital (formerly HealthSouth) in 2012 before returning to HCA Healthcare as Memorial Satilla Health’s CEO last year.

Mr. Neely has served on the executive leadership team for the American Heart Association’s Big Bend Heart Walk in Tallahassee, is a past member of the Sunrise and Muscogee Rotary Clubs, and a former board member for the American Cancer Society Columbus Chapter and Columbus Hospice. Mr. Neely lives in Blackshear.

For questions about SGSC’s commencement ceremonies, please contact Ms. Ame Wilkerson at ame.wilkerson@sgsc.edu or Ms. Laura Dubberly at laura.dubberly@sgsc.edu.