by Julie Lineback
Higher education isn’t merely about acquiring knowledge – it is a transformative odyssey that sculpts character, instills resilience and fosters a deep understanding of our world. In this spirit, more than 700 University of West Georgia students celebrated similar journeys on Saturday when they received their degrees during UWG’s Fall 2023 Commencement ceremonies.
“University education is equipment for living,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWG president. “You are the leaders we’ve been waiting for, and we need you to jump into the world, embrace challenges, make companies stronger, make communities healthier and more connected, and make every action impact positive change.”
A special highlight unique to the celebrations included a video featuring graduates and members of their support networks, which included family, friends and loved ones.
“Attending and graduating from a university is not a solitary act,” Kelly added as he introduced the presentation. “Like many things in our lives, it takes a village.”
Of the degrees conferred, 494 were at the undergraduate level, with the remaining 216 degrees being earned at the graduate level. All three ceremonies were live-streamed and are archived online.
Commencement ceremonies began at 10 a.m. for undergraduates from the College of Education; the School of Communication, Film and Media; Tanner Health System School of Nursing; and University College. All graduate students from each school and college were recognized at 2 p.m. The 5:30 p.m. ceremony featured undergraduates from the College of Arts, Culture, and Scientific Inquiry and the Richards College of Business.
After highlighting milestones of select graduates, Kelly handed the capped celebrants one final assignment to close their time as students.
“Don’t stop learning,” he advised. “Don’t stop challenging yourself to be better. And don’t stop becoming. The difference between who you are and what you want to be depends on your courage and the work you put into yourself and the world every day. Make things happen for you, your friends and family, and the businesses and organizations you’ll serve.”
Student Government Association president Tyler McCoy said he felt privileged to share in the joy and excitement of this momentous occasion.
“Embrace this milestone and celebrate your success because you’ve truly earned it,” he shared. “As you embark on the next chapter of your life, remember: you carry with you the strength, the wisdom and the spirit of the Wolf.”
Christopher Sanders ’03, chair of the UWG Alumni Association Board of Directors, officially welcomed the newly graduated to the association and encouraged them to stay connected and tap into the vast network of more than 77,000 alumni.
“Legacy is not built overnight but through every decision we make, effort we take and positive actions we create,” he advised. “Apply your knowledge to benefit your communities, near and far, as you embark on this new adventure in your professional journey.”