GSC Celebrates Spring 2018 Graduation

"Looking out on you this morning reminds me of my undergraduate commencement ceremony quite some time ago," incoming Gordon State College President Kirk Nooks told members of the Spring 2018 graduating class. "I can still recall this surreal feeling that came over me as the program progressed moment by moment. As we sat there listening to the commencement speaker, I remember thinking to myself, 'Am I ready for the real world?"

Nooks assured the graduates that yes, they were ready for the real world.

Nooks will officially assume the GSC presidency on June 1

Interim President Stuart Rayfield awarded 334 degrees to 306 graduates as an overflow crowd of family, friends, and others looked on from Lambdin Green.

"I can't believe it," said Lynn Ray, a non- traditional student, awarded an Associate of Science degree.

Ray is a wife, mother, grandmother and an officer with the Gordon State College Police Department.

"I wanted my grandchildren to see that you can finish college, no matter how old you are," Ray said. "No matter what obstacles you might face."

Bagpiper Michael Grest led the procession on to Lambdin Green followed by Mace Bearer and Grand Marshal Dr. Lynn Rumfelt, members of the administration, faculty, and students.

One of those students was Justin Serna who is graduating Suma Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in biology.

"It's been a wonderful four years here at Gordon State," said Serna, the first member of his family to graduate college. "I'm surrounded by the support of my family, and I could not be any more grateful. They know how important and how dedicated I am to my educational goals, and they've supported me in every step through college."

Serna will continue his education at Georgia State University where he hopes to earn a master's in molecular genetics and biochemistry.

"I'd like to work at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention eventually," he said.

Of the graduates awarded degrees Friday, five haven't even graduated high school yet. Kimora Rae Anderson, Associate of Arts, Stockbridge; Colin John Clarkson, Associate of Arts, Jackson; Margaret Elise Henry, Associate of Science, Barnesville and Mary Claire Ctibor, Associate of Science, Milner were enrolled in Gordon's dual enrollment program which allows an academically qualified high school student to take college courses.

After the main program, graduates of Gordon's School of Education gathered with family and friends for the Book and Bell presentation. Each graduate received a school bell and a McGuffey's Reader, the two tools most used by teachers at the turn of the 19th Century.

Dr. Jerry Stinchcomb, who helped develop Gordon's education program 11 years ago reminded the new teachers that the book and bell were more significant now in the day if high technology.

"It's not the stuff (in your classroom)," he said. "It's you."

Graduates Ethan Cromer, Kooper Faith Groce, Joy Mathis, Amanda Rutledge and Julie Whitt, were awarded the Jerry Stinchcomb Founder's Award for academic excellence in education.

Graduates of Gordon's nursing program held a ceremony during which each graduate received their pin and lighted their Nightingale Lamp.