Record 225 BC grads

Published 7:00 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

Albany State University President Everette Freeman congratulated the approximately 225 Bainbridge College graduates Friday night during his commencement speech at Memorial Coliseum.

He then invited them to further their education at his university, and once there, to sit in his chair—the chair from which he runs the university.

“I invite all of my students to sit in my chair,” Freeman said. He told them that once students had sat in his chair, their posture changed for the better and their outlook on the future changed.

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“Hold that moment,” Freeman said.

He contrasted that story with the story of his sister, who is currently an unemployed teacher’s aide in Washington, D.C., where he grew up. Freeman, one of six children, is the only one in his family to attend college.

His sister, Mary Cain, has told Freeman that she is fearful of going to college and getting an associate’s degree in early childhood education.

“You represent her future,” Freeman told the BC graduates, saying they have themselves overcome trepidations.

He said he wants to take the graduates’ names listed in the program and tell his sister, “Mary, your story is as individual and as special as the names that appear in this book.” He said he was going to use that opportunity to talk to her about moving forward with her future rather than being stuck in her own fear.

Freeman became Albany State University’s eighth president in September 2005. Prior to that he was senior vice president of the University of Indianapolis.

He said Bainbridge College President Tom Wilkerson told him, “I have some of the best graduates in the world,” to which Freeman added: “You are some of the best graduates in the world, and don’t you forget it.”

Doreen Poitevint, the Regent who represents the 2nd Congressional District on the Board of Regents, said she marvels at how the college is growing, and that the record number of graduates Friday night adds to the 3,700 who preceded them.

Chuck Strickland, Student Government Association president, said he didn’t attend his high school graduation because he didn’t think it was special to walk across a stage. Friday night, Strickland said his thoughts had changed and that walking across the stage represented all the quizzes, tests and abuse his alarm clock endured during his two years at Bainbridge College.

He concluded by telling his fellow graduates: “Hope all of you have a great beginning.”

Donnie Fordham, professor of accounting who is a 29-year veteran of the college, was the parade marshal of the processional.