May 14, 2022
Reading time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds
Dr. Brendan B. Kelly
Dr. Brendan B. Kelly

It was a full day of pomp and circumstance as more than 1,100 Wolves graduated in the University of West Georgia’s Spring 2022 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

Resounding themes for the occasion were optimism and perseverance – personified by one special guest, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Jay Repetto, who was recognized for his bravery and sacrifice in service to his community.

In a timeline that took students from shutdown and quarantine to masks and social distancing to vaccines, UWG President Dr. Brendan B. Kelly said in his opening remarks that the ceremony represented overcoming obstacles through tenacity and community.

“We confirmed over the last two years that life does not have a dress rehearsal,” he observed. “This is your life. You have to be brave and create the life that you have dreamt of because no one else is going to create it for you. We also know there are a whole bunch of people, including thousands at UWG, who want to create it with you. It is easier to be courageous when you have a support system of people behind you who have your back.”

Student celebrating at graduation

Of the 1,135 degrees conferred to graduates, 312 were at the graduate level, with the remaining 823 degrees being earned at the undergraduate level. All three ceremonies were live-streamed.

Commencement ceremonies began at 9 a.m. for students graduating from the Richards College of Business; the School of Communication, Film and Media; and the Tanner Health System School of Nursing. The 1 p.m. ceremony featured graduates from the College of Arts, Culture and Scientific Inquiry and University College, and College of Education students were recognized at 5 p.m.

And even as tassels were passed from right to left – a tradition confirming newfound graduate status – Kelly told students that their work was far from complete. 

Sydney Severin
Sydney Severin

“You are the leaders we have been waiting for, and we need you to jump into the world, embrace challenges, make companies stronger, make communities healthier and more connected, and make every action impact positive change in the world,” he advised. “Do not stop learning. Do not stop challenging yourself to be better. Do not stop becoming.”

UWG Student Government Association President Sydney Severin went a step further and told the degree recipients the real work begins now.

“I encourage you all to strive to be a better version of yourself every day, surround yourself with individuals who will challenge your way of thinking, apply for that job you think is unattainable, set goals, take risks, and most importantly, never stop dreaming,” she shared. “Never become comfortable or find yourself settling for anything in life. Comfort breeds complacency, and you should never be comfortable because there is always work to be done.”