by Julie Lineback

The University of West Georgia conferred more than 700 degrees to its summer 2020 graduating class during a virtual commencement celebration on Saturday that was broadcast on UWG’s Livestream page.

Dr. Brendan B. Kelly
Dr. Brendan B. Kelly

This was the second time UWG streamed a graduation celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world.

UWG President Brendan B. Kelly, accompanied by deans and administration members, led the event that was held in the UWG Coliseum while following the appropriate social distancing guidelines.

Throughout the ceremony, Kelly expounded on the central theme of becoming.

“We are celebrating the transformation in people’s lives,” he shared. “Your transformation. Your becoming. Becoming is what we grow to be. What we become as we journey and learn, make mistakes and learn, have successes and learn, and embrace others and learn. All the time we become. Today, I can tell you more than 700 stories of becoming.”

Following Kelly’s remarks, Dr. Brad Yates, chair of the Department of Mass Communications, read each name from the Class of Summer 2020.

Student Government Association President Khareem Leslie elaborated, stating that although the celebration might not have been what graduates envisioned for this day, he believes they would overcome any obstacles placed in their future.

“Your visions of becoming nurses, entrepreneurs, artists, educators, scientists, and many other professions are minutes away from occurring,” Leslie said. “No matter whatever profession your life’s pathway takes you on, I only wish you the best. I have full faith that you will succeed in your future endeavors.”

Khareem Leslie
Khareem Leslie

Both Kelly and Leslie spoke of a future where graduates could meet face-to-face in an in-person ceremony.

“I have heard from many of our graduates and their family members regarding commencement,” Kelly said. “So many people want to have the opportunity to gather and celebrate that grand achievement of completion that’s marked by a commencement ceremony. So do we. And we will.”

As part of their metamorphosis that will occur throughout their lives, Kelly emphasized the world needs the graduates of UWG now more than ever.

“Right now the world needs ingenuity,” he said. “We need innovation and people who can think creatively about the world to begin to help us invent the future – whatever it holds. You are the leaders we’ve been waiting for. We need you to embrace the challenges, to make companies stronger, to make communities healthier and more connected, to make every action impact positive change in the world. Do not stop learning. Do not stop challenging yourself to be better. Do not stop becoming.”

Posted on July 25, 2020