Spring 2015 recognizes record number of graduates at convocation

Pictures from the Spring 2015 convocation can be viewed on the UGA Grady Flickr gallery:

Convocation Candids

Miscellaneous Ceremony Pictures

Graduate Students

Advertising Students

Public Relations Students

Journalism Students 

Digital Broadcast Journalism Students

Mass Media Arts Students

It seems fitting that in a year when Grady College is celebrating its centennial,  the class graduating in the spring had more than 430 graduates, a record, at its spring convocation at The Classic Center Theatre on May 7, 2015.

Students graduating from Grady included five Ph.D. students, 34 master’s students, 150 students with an advertising degree, 125 with a degree in public relations, 81 from the journalism program, 36 who studied digital and broadcast journalism and 97 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. He also recognized the tremendous Grady spirit and pride displayed during the centennial celebrations the past several months.

The keynote address was given by Marc Gorlin (ABJ ‘95), CEO and founder of Roadie, Inc., and co-founder of Kabbage, Inc. In January, Gorlin was recognized by the UGA Alumni Association at the Bulldog 100 Celebration for his work with Kabbage, the fastest-growing, alumni-owned business.

Gorlin’s comments highlighted the unexpected ways a journalism degree prepares its students for life, and he focused on messages of meeting deadlines, taking care of those people around you and branching out.


“Sparks happen when you go one-, two-, three-degrees outside your comfort zone,” Gorlin said.

Further, he advised, “every minute that you spend investing in people instead of checking your email will pay dividends your entire career.”

Gorlin’s top ten list of advice included the following:

•    If your lede sucks, it really doesn’t matter. Lead with something personal; lead with something human.

•    Ask great questions. Everyone graduating from this school has a natural curiosity. Follow it.

•    Create your own nut graf. What’s your own unique voice and path?

•    You’re only as good as your sources. Make connections with people on the other side of the office.

•    You’re always on deadline. You have to accomplish something real every day.

•    Learn how to interview. Let people see who you really are.

•    Don’t be afraid to write obituaries. How do you face obstacles?

•    The inverted pyramid. What’s the most important thing in life?

•    Protect your sources. Take care of the people who take care of you.

•    What can you do for one? No matter how busy you are, you can always do for one.

The Distinguished Senior Orator, the student graduating at the top of her class, was Emily Edwards, a public relations and marketing double major from Calhoun, Georgia.

 Senior Orator Emily Edwards challenged her classmates to be
lifelong learners and praised the Grady College faculty.
To view her entire talk, please view the Grady YouTube channel

In addition to her advice to students and thanks to her parents, Edwards provided praise for the Grady College faculty including Betty Jones, Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and Bill Lee.

“I’m particularly thankful for professors like Dr. Betty Jones, who has spent more hours than she can probably count guiding stressed out students like me down the right path. For professors like Dr. A, who made an overwhelming PR Campaigns class seem completely manageable and, sometimes, almost fun. And, for professors like Dr. Lee who taught his students to always remember to ‘rock on.'”

Eric NeSmith (ABJ ’02), chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, concluded the platform of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college. He encouraged the students of the centennial class to stay in touch with the college and to engage with fellow Grady alumni.

“As members of the Grady Society, you are now plugged into a network of leaders, giants within their respective fields,” NeSmith said. “Throughout our nation and world you will not find many places where Grady grads have not made their mark.”

Date: May 8, 2015
Author:  Sarah Freeman, freemans@uga.edu