Nearly 175 students graduated from Grady College this semester, many of whom were recognized at the Fall 2017 convocation on December 14, 2017, at the Hugh Hodgson Performing Arts Center.
Among graduates were 28 master’s students, including Grady’s first graduates of its Master of Fine Arts program and its new Emerging Media master’s degree.
Undergraduates who were recognized included 32 students with an advertising degree, 20 with a degree in public relations, 59 from the journalism program, two who studied digital and broadcast journalism, 28 from the entertainment and media studies department and five with a mass media arts degree.
Dean Charles Davis presided over the ceremony, giving an overview of Grady’s accomplishments this past year and praising the students for their hard work, passion and academic excellence.
Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88), executive producer and president of Atlanta ImageArts and a member of the Grady Board of Trust, addressed candidates with a speech that compared the five principles of journalism — who, what, when, where and why — and challenged the graduates to ask themselves questions to determine what their personal story is.
Danneman explained that much of this is rooted in the values and principles you hold dear.
“If you can find your ‘why’ and you can be rooted in your values, you are going to be happy when you get up and go to work every day,” Danneman advised.
He also challenged the graduates to “let people know by the integrity of your work, by the quality of your work, by the camaraderie and friendship that you have with your co-workers, that you are a team player…that you are a Grady graduate.”
“I am Grady, you are Grady and it is a great day to be a Grady Dawg,” Danneman concluded.
The distinguished senior speaker, a student chosen based on an audition among the graduates for the spot, was Gabrielle Cowand, a journalism major and communication studies minor, who is working toward her master’s in Emerging media, as well.
“Grady didn’t teach us the ‘it’ factor; we already had that,” Cowand said. “It simply taught us how to use our talents at max capacity. It opened our minds to what we didn’t know to do or create. We have learned how to constantly strive to reach our full potential and that we have no limits.”
“We have to create our own circumstances,” she continued. “We define the rules. We write our own story. A whole lot of legwork is required on our end, but the good news is that we have a whole lot of people behind us. Grady really is a family.”
Bryan Harris (MA ‘03), outgoing chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, concluded the platform of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college.
“The real education is just beginning and members of the Grady Society will be with you every step of the way,” Harris said.
He encouraged the students to stay in touch with the college and give their time, experiences and talents to future students.
Harris finished his thoughts with this advice: “Stay engaged and raise your hand when Grady calls.”
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