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GSU winter grads celebrate
2006 commencement held Friday at Hanner
Georgia Southern held 2006 Winter Commencement exercises Friday at Hanner Fieldhouse. - photo by FRANK FORTUNE/GSU
    The challenges of the working world are the same as the challenges of pursuing a degree, said Charles Chandler, keynote speaker for one of three commencement exercises Friday for Georgia Southern University's 15th Annual Winter Commencement.
    Chandler spoke during the 11 p.m. commencement ceremony inside Hanner Fieldhouse, which included graduates from the College of Business Administration, College of Information Technology, and the Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science.
    After each ceremony, graduates and their friends and family members crowded briefly outside Hanner for short visits and photographs before scurrying to their vehicles, huddled against the icy wind.
    In spite of the chill, the atmosphere was warm with joy as graduates marked the important milestone.
    LaCameo Miller, 22, was overjoyed at receiving her nursing degree and anticipated entering the work world in January.
    "I feel wonderful," she said. "I'll be working at Candler Hospital in Savannah in the Mother/Baby unit."
    Kirkland Arnold beamed as he visited with family members and friends surrounding him with congratulations and hugs.
    "It feels good to finally be finished with school," he said.  The 23-year-old sports management major hopes to "get a job in the sports industry as a sports agent."
    But he will miss Statesboro, he said.
    "It has been a good four years," he said. "There have been a lot of changes since I have been here."
    Chandler, a retired executive from the paper and timber industry, is also a Georgia Southern University Foundation Board trustee and a board member of the GSU Wesley Foundation.
    "You studied hard ... burned the midnight oil ... and throughout your years of study ... there was give and take between your parents and yourself ... your inner conscience and temptation," he said. "The next chapter in your life begins today. You are embarking in the world of business. Instead of parents and classmates, it will be coworkers and supervisors ...."
    Chandler told graduates it is important to set goals.
    "You have already done the most important part in obtaining your degree," he said. "The next step is establishing your career goals.
    "Once you have determined your career goals and set milestones ... in my opinion, the keys to success in business are t he same today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow," he said. "Hard work ... and motivation."
    "Have confidence in yourself and in your abilities," he said.
    Communication is key in succeeding as well, Chandler said.
    "Communicate effectively," he said. "Thoughts communicated in a clear and concise manner are powerful.
    He also said earning respect and being dependable are important. "Earning the respect of fellow employees without compromising your integrity" is vital, but just as importantly, " above all, enjoy what you are doing," he said. "Be courageous in pursuit of your career goals ... I wish for each of you graduates success and happiness."
    The 9 a.m. ceremony included graduates from the College of Education, College of Health and Human Sciences, and College of Public Health. Donna L. Richter, dean of the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, spoke during this commencement ceremony.
    Graduates from the College of Science and Technology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts, and Interdisciplinary Bachelor of General Studies received degrees during this ceremony. Charles E. Perry Jr., P.E., president and CEO of EMC Engineering Services, Inc., was speaker for this ceremony.
    Degrees were awarded during the three exercises to 898 undergraduate students and 223 graduate students. These graduates were the first to receive diplomas bearing the new Georgia Southern University centennial logo.
    Friday's ceremonies brought the total of GSU graduates during 2006 to 2,950.
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