Georgia State commencement is back for good

It is the commencement ceremony that almost wasn’t.

Last year, the University Senate Commencement Subcommittee, headed by President Mark Becker, decided to end the December commencement ceremony in an effort to save money and resources. The university said it would save the school money and allow the school to bring out bigger keynote speakers.

Students didn’t seem to agree.

After much debate, Georgia State listened to student and parents and decided to keep the ceremony for good.

“I’m so excited that GSU brought Fall Commencement back,” said senior Brent Yancy. “Commencement to me is like compensation for a student’s hard work during their college experience. It also allows the student’s families toparticipate in the next step of the student’s life.”

Approximately 1,851 students, under the eyes of family, friends and teachers, will sport black and blue robes and take to the Georgia Dome’s field.

“The plan moving forward is to have fall and spring commencement ceremonies,” said DeAnna Hines of University Ceremonies and Events.

Hines said planning both commencements is a full time job. Aside from the University Senate subcommittee, there is a committee council to plan the ceremony that is made up of approximately 15 members.

Preparing the commencement, according to Hines, “is continuous. We have to plan far in advance for Dome reservations, speakers, placing bids for vendors, etc.”

Renting out the Dome comes at approximately $200,000 a ceremony.

“That cost does not include the cost of preparing and mailing diplomas three times per year,” Hines said. “Also, that cost does not include the in-kind cost of the time of the Commencement Council members and over 125 campus volunteers needed for each Dome ceremony.”

For the students who worked so hard to walk across the Dome’s field, it’s worth every penny.

“Commencement is a huge deal to me,” senior Melanie Crain said. “I’m the first of my siblings to graduate from college and I couldn’t be happier to make my parents proud and start a new chapter or my life.”

In store for this semester’s commencement is a keynote speech from Gov. Nathan Deal and giving Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, receive an honorary degree.

Deal, who has a law degree from Mercer University, started a private law practice in Gainesville, Ga. after he graduated from college. Deal moved up the ranks from prosecutor, judge, State Senator and U.S. Congressman before becoming the 82 governor of Georgia. The Governor also served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga.

Aside from being the President of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, Lockhart is director of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and is chair of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and the Midtown Alliance. Lockhart received his B.A. from Stanford University, received a M.A. in international economics and American foreign policy from Johns Hopkins University and attended the Senior Executive Program at MIT. Lockhart also served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.