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GSU to graduate its largest class Saturday
2,400 graduates, 25,000 people expected to pack Paulson Stadium
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    Georgia Southern University will honor its largest-ever graduating class at Spring Commencement at 9 a.m. Friday inside Paulson Stadium. Approximately 2,900 graduates are receiving degrees this spring, including more than 2,400 who will participate in the formal ceremony.
    New Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel will not only confer the graduates' degrees, but also will serve as the guest speaker.
    “I am looking forward to my first graduation ceremony at Georgia Southern,” said Keel, who took office in January. “With a record number of graduates, it will be a memorable day for many in Eagle Nation.”
    In addition to Spring Commencement exercises, there will be recognition of the university's newly-commissioned ROTC cadets. Georgia Southern's ROTC battalion was chosen as one of only eight in the country to receive the MacArthur Award, the U.S. Army's top honor for ROTC battalions that exemplify the leadership qualities personified by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
    “We are thankful to Dr. Keel for this initiative to showcase our cadets, some of the finest in the nation, on this very special day,” said Lt. Col. George Fredrick, commander of Georgia Southern's ROTC battalion.
    Along with the “traditional” graduates, this year's class reflects a national trend that more students are choosing to earn their degrees online. Georgia Southern will recognize 153 fully and 63 partially online graduates, the most ever for the university.
    A highlight from last year's ceremony will return this year as Freedom, the bald eagle that flies at Georgia Southern home football games, will make his second flight at graduation.
   
If you're going
    Graduates' families and friends are encouraged to get to Paulson Stadium early. Given the large number of graduates, the university is expecting around 25,000 people for commencement. The gates will open at 7 a.m. and the processional will begin at 8:40. Once the available seats and concourse areas are full, the grass seating area at the scoreboard end of the field will be opened to manage any overflow.
    The university suggests parking in one of the designated parking areas on-campus and utilizing the campus shuttle services to get the stadium. Shuttle service will start at 7:30 a.m. and will continue until one hour after the ceremony ends. Carpooling is encouraged.
   
Web cast available
    Again this year, Georgia Southern University will present the Spring Commencement ceremony as a live web cast. Anyone with RealPlayer installed on their computer and access to the Internet can view the web cast from the Georgia Southern website (www.georgiasouthern.edu) by following the Commencement link.