Georgia Southern University held its 2021 undergraduate commencement ceremonies May 8 at Savannah Convention Center, and May 10, 11 and 12 at Paulson Stadium. Graduate ceremonies were held May 13, also at Paulson Stadium.
Each event featured its own speaker. At the May 12 undergraduate ceremony, Atlanta native and GSU alum Jason Louder was the guest speaker. Louder's star has been on the rise, as he has appeare in more than 30 stage productions since 2009, and he has taken on starring roles in productions on the CW and on Hulu. His character, "Babatunde the Griot" has inspired thousands of students throughout the state of Georgia.
Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson was the featured speaker for the graduate ceremony on Thursday. A leader, teacher, coach and advocate for students, Jackson has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and more than 10 years of experience in executive training.
Jackson created Georgia Southern VALUES, a civility initiative rooted in responsible decision making. She was the first female Dean of Students in the history of GSU, and developed a Dean of Students Crisis Management Plan, facilitated a student grievance policy, and helped to build the new Division of Student Affairs. She was named Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Albany State University in 2018.
Currently, Jackson serves as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Augusta University, where she leads the Student Engagement Unit.