More than 70 graduate students gathered in Clayton State University’s Athletics Center on May 3 to celebrate spring commencement. Students from the College of Business, College of Health, College of information and Mathematical Sciences, and College of Arts and Sciences received their degree and hood to mark the milestone in their academic and professional journey.
“This [commencement] gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of you with graduate degrees,” said Dr. Tim Hynes, president of Clayton State University. “This is great.”
Commencement speaker Dr. Leon Prieto, Associate Professor of Management, reminded students to thank those, including family and friends, who supported them along the way as they pursued their studies.
“Your village had your back,” Dr. Prieto said. “They were the ones that leant a hand and motivated you to be the very best version of yourself.”
Dr. Prieto told graduates that throughout their professional and personal lives, they will encounter individuals who will try to hinder their progress or set up roadblocks along the way. To overcome those obstacles, Dr. Prieto continued, it’s important to turn a bad situation into a good one.
“We always find a way to turn poison into medicine, lemons into lemonade,” he said. “Don’t forget that adversity is no match for grit, perseverance, and humility.”
As for what happens after commencement is over, Dr. Prieto said the work does not end with simply a new degree or job promotion. He told graduates to use their degree to impact their communities.
“You achieve happiness by being useful,” he said. “Put your degree to good use for society. Go out and serve your community, go out there and serve your profession, go out and serve your city, serve your country, serve your religious community, serve your family. Become a servant leader.”