350 graduate from Bainbridge College

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Approximately 350 students graduated from Bainbridge College on Saturday morning, at the Student Wellness Center on the BC campus.

Prior to the conferring of the students’ degrees, former BC President Dr. Tom Wilkerson was honored publicly and presented the rank of President Emeritus. Wilkerson was the college’s third president, and served from 2005 to 2010.

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“During [Wilkerson’s] tenure, the institution’s enrollment grew 68 percent, its scholarships endowment grew from $59,000 to more than $700,000, and he led the completion of numerous important building and expansion projects,” said BC President Dr. Richard Carvajal. “To say that Dr. Wilkerson left Bainbridge College better than he found it would most certainly be an understatement.”

Wilkerson said he would not have been a successful president without the help of a quality staff and community.

“This honor isn’t just mine, but it belongs to the community,” he said.

Dr. Ed Mobley, the first president at Bainbridge College, and its only other president emeritus, was in the audience to see Wilkerson’s honor.

The families of two late students were honored at Saturday’s ceremony. Debra Sherane Zuniga died in December 2011 but would have graduated Saturday with multiple degrees. Joel David “Joey” Maxwell would have graduated Saturday and planned to transfer to the University of Georgia in the fall to pursue a degree in agricultural engineering.

Student Government Association president Terry Leon Williams addressed his peers before their degrees were awarded.

“I just ask that each of you remember the experience you had at this fine institution,” he said. “I hope that you represent Bainbridge College with dignity in the rest of your life.”

Dr. Steve Wrigley, the University System of Georgia’s vice chancellor for administration, gave the commencement address. He gave the graduates some advice for the rest of their lives.

“If you achieve success, don’t stop dreaming,” he said. “Whatever you do in life, take it seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s often been said that the first time you grow up is when you learn to laugh at yourself.”

Wrigley also instructed the students to not get stressed out by their future studies or work.

“Some quiet time to reflect is good for the soul,” he said. “It refreshes you.”

Dr. Tonya Strickland, BC’s vice president for academic affairs, presented Whigham, Ga., student Wes Potter with the Outstanding Graduate Medallion.

Class of 2012 graduate Zacharey Powell read the invocation, and graduate Grace Nettles sang the national anthem.