by Taylor Bryant
Melissa “Missy” Dugan ‘87, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta, encouraged UWG’s 2016 graduates to follow their passion. While it was a day to never be forgotten for the graduates, it was also a special day for the university. UWG conferred 1,204 degrees, the highest number of degrees awarded in any given semester from the university.
“I believe it comes down to three distinct qualities: passion. A simple word, yet
for me it has set the tone for a successful career, a passion for life, people and
for the work that I chose to make as my career,” Dugan said. “My passion is fueled
by the young people our organization serves. When you have passion for what you do,
you will work harder, you accept challenges easier, and you will realize the navigation
around difficult decisions and complex issues. If you have passion for what you work
towards each day, then everything associated with your life and career will come naturally
In addition to being the keynote speaker for both ceremonies, Dugan was also given an honorary doctorate before the graduates for her leadership, accomplishments and loyalty to UWG.
“Be courageous in all things and for all people,” she continued. “Take a stand, and don't let fear hold you back. The best lessons you will learn will be from the idea that you failed at, so take those chances. Courage lies on the battlefield and the boardroom, and leaders realize that having courage doesn't mean that you don't get afraid, it means that you don't let fear stop you.”
Of the 1,204 degrees, 907 were undergraduate degrees and 297 were graduate degrees. The number broke the spring 2014 commencement record of 1,201.
The degrees were conferred across two ceremonies – a morning ceremony for the College of Education and Richards College of Business, and an afternoon ceremony for the College of Arts and Humanities, Tanner Health School of Nursing, the College of Social Sciences and the College of Science and Mathematics.
The total of 2,425 degrees were awarded for fiscal year 2015-2016.
A full video of the spring commencement ceremonies can be found at westga.edu/commencement.php.