Forty graduate students graduated from Grady College, include three Ph.D. graduates. Undergraduates who were recognized included 142 students with an advertising degree, 130 with a degree in public relations, 114 from the journalism program and 81 from the entertainment and media studies department.
Dean Charles Davis presided over the ceremony, giving an overview of Grady’s accomplishments this past year and commending the students for their hard work, passion and academic excellence.
Bonnie Arnold (ABJ ’77), a producer at DreamWorks with production credits including “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Toy Story,” delivered the charge to the candidates and focused on making change work in their favor.
Four lessons in her address included:
Be flexible and take advantage of every opportunity. “Focus on building a track record of success and people will keep betting on you,” Arnold advised, pulling from a quote from Kim Lubel. Arnold illustrated this advice among stories of how she got her start driving Harrison Ford as a production assistant, and serving as a body guard for Kevin Costner for a movie called, “Revenge,” which led to her start producing credit for “Dancing with Wolves.”
Seek out a mentor…or even better, a sponsor. “Mentors open the door, sponsors help you walk through them,” Arnold said.
Be brave. “It takes courage to deal with change,” Arnold said, recalling stories of getting “Toy Story” into production through the creation of computer-generated animation.
“The quicker you realize this, the better,” she concluded.
The distinguished senior speaker, a student chosen based on an audition among the graduates for the spot, was Noelle Lashley, a journalism major from Cartersville, Georgia.
Near the conclusion of her speech, Lashley talks about why Grady is special to her: “I walked into Grady as a terrified student who didn’t even know how to set up a camera tripod. Now, I leave Grady as a journalist who has found a second family and a second home. This college has given us all the skills to move forward in the future…as who we ARE, not who we think we SHOULD be.”
Dana Todd (ABJ ‘91), chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, concluded the platform of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college.
Todd encouraged graduates to connect with the Grady alumni family by thinking outside the box about ways to give back…through networking, mentoring, supporting current students with new educational opportunities and encouraging other alumni.
“Don’t forget to reach back while you are reaching for the stars,” Todd concluded.
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