The University of Georgia Griffin campus held its Fall Graduation Celebration and Brick Ceremony for 20 members of the Class of 2023 on December 14, representing four of the five colleges that offer degrees at UGA Griffin.  

During the ceremony each student graduating from UGA Griffin is honored with a lasting mark on campus, a brick featuring their name and class year is installed in the walkways around the Student Learning Center. This tradition is unique to the Griffin campus and in previous years, graduates’ bricks were placed at the Naomi Chapman Woodroof Pavilion.

Jeffrey Dean, Assistant Provost and Campus Director for UGA Griffin, opened the program by congratulating the students on their many accomplishments throughout their time on the Griffin campus.

“I am very pleased to recognize your hard work and celebrate your accomplishments of receiving a UGA degree,” said Dean, noting the graduates will join the over 680 others who have gone on before them from UGA Griffin.

He added the students have much support from not only their families and friends, but from the UGA Griffin campus community as well. Dean asked the students to join him in celebrating those who helped them get to where they are today, leading to applause erupting from the graduates.  

Following the welcome, Dean introduced the keynote speaker for the ceremony, Tony Broski, sports director for WKEU AM-FM Griffin’s local radio station. Dean described Broski as a local treasure and incredible supporter of the UGA Griffin campus, who also took over hosting the campus’s weekly radio program on WEKU in 2019 after producing it for many years.

“Many of us, myself included, have been privileged- and sometimes ‘put-on-the-spot’ for his spontaneous questions or observations-as Tony has grilled us, laughed with us and done his best to ensure that the entire world knows of the incredible research, services and academic programs that are the UGA Griffin campus,” said Dean.

Broski opened his speech by commending the students on their hard work to get to graduation day and noted he was pleased to be just a small component of their day of celebration. He continued adding how he was guilty of not knowing all of the wide variety of programs offered on campus until he became more involved through the radio program. Over the years he has learned just how valuable a commodity the campus is to the local community.

“Yet despite all the important discoveries made here, I’m of the belief that its most valued asset is it students- and it is them and their achievements that we are gathered to recognize and applaud on this day,” said Broski.

He continued noting that while UGA’s football team has been a major part of the news lately for their performance on the field and winning back to back national championships, these students join them in the world of champions and their hard work is not to be overlooked.

“The Dawgs have a pair of really nice trophies in Athens recognizing their greatness on the football field, and you in your own way join them as your diploma serves as an equally, if not more, valuable trophy recognizing your accomplishments,” said Broski. “This isn’t meant to expound upon their excellence but is rather intended to point out that every single one of you graduates have your own title hardware and can forever etch your names into the history of this fine institution.”

Broski closed out his speech by offering his heartfelt congratulations to the students on a job well done.

“Seemingly throughout the course of time, older generations worry that the one that follows them will somehow lead the world into ruin. But having seen you, having read of your accomplishments and having gotten to know some of you, I have no such concerns about the future,” said Broski. “You have shown what you can do, now show us what you will do.”

Also speaking during the ceremony was the student speaker, Charles Held. Held is a Mary Frances Early College of Education graduate and was selected by faculty as the student speaker for the graduation event, speaking to his classmates about their collective experiences.

“Getting a degree is not an easy path,” said Held. “It is a journey filled with challenges, late nights of studying and countless moments of self-doubt. But here you stand today, a testament to your resilience. You have faced adversity and triumphed over it. You’ve shown the world that you’re not just graduates, you are one that completes the task at hand.”

Held went on to say how each of his fellow classmates has encountered countless individuals who have shaped their paths and shown them the power of community and support. He noted it is those individuals they will think of when they think of their time at UGA Griffin.

“As you go forth from this esteemed institution, remember that your journey in education doesn’t end here. It is a lifelong commitment to learning, growing and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Held. “Your resilience, coupled with the people you’ve met along the way, will be your greatest assets in this endeavor.”

After the ceremony, students, family and friends were invited to a reception in their honor held in the Student Learning Center on campus.

Following is a list of 2023 UGA Griffin graduates and their degrees:

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Krishnaprabha, Master of Science in Food Science
  • Revati Narwankar, Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science
  • Nivin A. Nasser, Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science
  • Jamal Mohammed, Doctor of Philosophy in Horticulture

Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

  • Rebecca Goodman, Bachelor of Science
  • Anna Lawson, Bachelor of Science

Mary Frances Early College of Education

  • Tad Ericson, Master of Education in Mathematics Education
  • Charles Held, Master of Education in Mathematics Education
  • Sarah McDevitt, Master of Education in Mathematics Education
  • Toni Deshan Clemons Ingram, Master of Education in Mathematics Education
  • Merlon B Jones, Jr., Master of Education in Mathematics Education
  • Funmiola Agboola, Education Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Christine Barton, Educational Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Lyndsay Goeckeritz, Educational Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Jennifer Han, Educational Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Arv’Oreal Mathew, Educational Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Lyric Maze, Education Specialist in Mathematics Education
  • Wanda L. Johnson, Doctor of Education in Student Affairs Leadership

Terry College of Business

  • Kelly Rogers, Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Hilary Vernon, Bachelor of Business Administration