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GSU holds commencement
U.S. Humane Society head speaks at Grubes last ceremonies
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Bruce Grube presides over his final commencement ceremony as Georgia Southern University's President Friday at Hanner Fieldhouse. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
     Volunteering is the way to make life more valuable and meaningful, said Wayne  Pacelle, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States, who spoke Friday morning during the 18th Annual Fall Commencement  for  Georgia Southern University's Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
    Pacelle gave students advice on pursuing life after college. "A lot of new possibilities await you in life, but you've already made one of the most important decisions of all," he said, referring to having chosen to attend college. "As time passes, the value of these college years will become more clear."
    Education has always been part of the country's way of " taking some of the struggle away form life," he said. "And we're lucky to be able to choose our own path to wherever we feel called."
    Pacelle said he hopes students find  their calling. "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life with what we give," he said. "The ark you leave on  the world will be seen way beyond where you work."
    He spoke about the importance of volunteering, and about the expansive variety of nonprofit organizations in  the United States. "They all spring from the same restless energy," he said. "The world is filled with moral opportunities."
    Referring to his own passion, Pacelle said animal protection is one of the most unselfish causes, and that animals are " not just resources or companions, but have t he same spark of life we have.
    "Kindness to animals make us a better people, and laws to protect animals make us a better nation," he said.
    Pacelle left students with this parting advice: "May your heart lead you to good causes, and may those causes prevail, because you were there."
    After receiving their diplomas, students poured out of Hanner Fieldhouse into nippy weather,  most were exuberant.
    Kyle Hones, 24, of Jesup, said he feels " good, but it would be better if I had a job." The construction major said he plans on taking a break after going home, then will seek a job.
    "I'm so excited," said Alicia Geter, 22, of Newnan. "Everything I worked hard for has come to fruition." She is now an electrical engineering technician, and intends to go to grad school in her next move.
    Abby Gerardo, a 23-year-old Duluth arts history major, said "I'm feeling amazing! I'm so happy!" Her goal is to move back to Atlanta and get a job at an art gallery.
    Two best friends since grade school came to Statesboro together from Denver, Col., and graduated from GSU together, Julian Donaldson, 23, is now an arts g graphic designer, and Sean Sandoval, 23, is  a criminal justice major. Both said they hope t go home and play professional soccer.
    "I feel awesome," Donaldson said. "No more school, no more books, no more money wasted, but there are going to still be some late nights."
    Sandoval said graduation left him " flabbergasted."
    He said it's "really pretty bittersweet, because it's hard to leave all your friends and a place you've called home for four years." Neither he nor Donaldson "ever thought we'd call Statesboro 'home.'"
     Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.
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