(May 6, 2017) – Armstrong State University hosted Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 6, 2017, conferring degrees on more than 800 students, a record number, in a special ceremony at the Savannah Civic Center.
Armstrong recognized students receiving master degrees, bachelor degrees and associate degrees in a wide range of fields. Students from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Education, College of Health Professions and College of Science and Technology marched in a colorful processional of sparkling and flower-crowned caps before being honored by Armstrong officials.
University President Dr. Linda M. Bleicken welcomed the 2017 graduates and their families to Spring Commencement. Former Savannah Mayor Otis S. Johnson -- who was honored twice by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the “Most Influential Georgians” and made history when he transferred to Armstrong State in 1963, becoming the first African-American student to attend and graduate from the institution -- delivered the commencement address.
“This is an exciting and important event,” noted Johnson. “I stand here as the first African-American to attend Armstrong College in 1963 and I will be the last commencement speaker for Armstrong State University. This commencement is historic because the graduates will be the last from Armstrong State University as we know it in the City of Savannah. It’s very special.”
Walking through a brief recap of Armstrong’s 82-year timeline, he made note of the more than 38,000 alumni who have graduated from the university. He specifically cited notable Armstrong alumni, including four Savannah mayors, University System of Georgia Regents, a film producer and top physicians and lawyers, as well as education and healthcare leaders in the region.
“You are joining a stellar group who attended this university,” he told the graduates. “This institution has prepared you, just as it prepared them. I ask you to join them and help maintain that proud legacy.”
He closed with further words of encouragement.
“To graduate from college is one of the brightest moments in anyone’s life,” said Johnson. “You are in a unique position to provide leadership and help to make this world a better place.”
Tequan Dorsey, a Columbus, Ga. native who earned a BHS in Public Health today, is focused on working with the Georgia Department of Health’s Women, Infants and Children program in the near future. He will also begin the Master of Public Health program at Armstrong in the fall, in addition to pursuing a bachelor’s in Nutrition.
“One day, I can be a dietician for our community,” he said proudly with a smile.
Ageda Machuca, who graduated with a Master of Professional Communication and Leadership and previously earned a B.A. in Business Economics at Armstrong, is grateful for her experience at the university.
“I grew as a leader,” she noted. “I grew as communicator and as a writer. I am going to miss Armstrong.”