Grady College honors fall 2014 graduates at convocation

Pictures from the fall 2014 convocation can be viewed on the UGA Grady Flickr gallery:

Convocation Highlights

Speakers and Graduate Candidates

 • Advertising Students

 • Public Relations Students

 • Journalism Students

 • Digital Broadcast Journalism Students

 • Mass Media Arts Students

More than 170 students were celebrated December 18 at the annual Grady College fall convocation ceremony at Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the University of Georgia.

Students graduating from Grady in the fall included 11 graduate students, 39 students with an advertising degree, 21 with a degree in public relations, 38 from the journalism program, 26 who studied digital and broadcast journalism, and 42 with a mass media arts degree.

Dean Charles Davis presided over the ceremony and provided an overview of Grady’s accomplishments this past year and commended the students for their hard work, passion, and academic excellence.

For the first time in the history of the Grady Convocation, the keynote address was given by not one, but two people: Suzy Deering (BSFCS ’92), chief executive officer of Moxie and Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92), executive vice president and chief of consumer strategy of WebMD.

Deering graduated from the College of Family and Consumer Science, but took several classes at Grady College. Howard is an alumna of Grady College.

“We live in dynamic times, plans can hold us back,” Deering said during her address. “Our culture tells us to play it safe or to be careful or that we’re not allowed to change our decisions or our minds, but being BOLD and confident enough to change is defining and will make you a person of substance and action. Embrace change and don’t worry so much about the plan.”

The Distinguished Senior Orator, the student graduating at the top of her class, was Emily Southard, a public relations and sports management double major from Lawrenceville, Georgia.

After joking that her Grady professors hammered AP style into her so much that her will would be grammatically correct, Southard went on to offer some sage advice.

“In theory, as graduates of such a distinguished university, it may seem like we should now be confident members of society who have our lives completely mapped out,” Southard said. “But if you’re not quite there yet, that’s ok. We are Journalism Building students: We’re used to not having our routes perfectly mapped out. We still have many things to learn and experience before we reach the pinnacle of our lives. So don’t panic or feel like a failure if you don’t have your life figured out just yet.”

Eric NeSmith (ABJ ’02), chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, finished the list of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college.  He told the students they had a unique perspective of excellence working with the Grady College faculty and fellow students.

“There is a sense of community at Grady that doesn’t end when you get your diploma,” NeSmith said.  “We are family.  Don’t be afraid to engage and stay in contact.”

Date: December 18, 2014
Author:  Sarah Freeman,