University announces Spring 2016 commencement speakers

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  • Graduate commencement speaker, Stephen Harmon, is currently a professor and chair at Georgia State University. Harmon wants students to realize that true strength lies with being experts in learning. 

  • Carol Burrell is currently the president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System. She graduated from GS with a bachelor’s in medical technology and is very active with volunteer work in her community. 

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Tandra Smith

Stephen Harmon, professor and chair of the learning technologies division in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University, and Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System, will be Georgia Southern University’s 2016 commencement speakers.

Burrell will give her speech during the undergraduate commencement ceremony which will take place in Paulson Stadium on Saturday, May 7 beginning at 9 a.m.

According to a press release from the university, Burrell has over 30 years of experience with a wide variety of clinical operations. She graduated from Georgia Southern with her bachelor’s degree in medical technology and has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine.

Xavieria Jeffers, senior double major in political science and history, hopes that the commencement speaker will give encouraging words to not only herself, but her fellow graduates as well.

“I think [the speakers] should address what they had to overcome after graduating and some of the trials they faced. I hope the speakers are funny, inspiring and most of all I hope they give us meaningful words to live by,” Jeffers said.

Harmon is the graduate commencement speaker. Their ceremony will take place Friday, May 6 at 1 p.m. inside of Hanner Fieldhouse. This will be Harmon’s first time giving a commencement speech at the university level. Harmon says he is excited to be speaking at GS.

“GS has a great reputation. For me to have the chance to give my perspective to these great folks is an honor and a privilege. It allows my thoughts to expand from what they normally would be to. Hopefully I will say things that will make the world a better place,” Harmon said.

Many senior students are surprised by how fast time has flown by, but are glad to be finally graduating.

“It’s weird that four years have flown by so quickly and I can’t believe it’s time to finally graduate from Georgia Southern,” Alexis Beatrice, senior accounting major, said.

Beatrice wants the commencement speaker to be able to offer them some guidance and advice for the future.

“I know so many people are nervous about the future and I believe it would be beneficial to hear about what [the speakers] did after college to transition into their next step,” Beatrice said.

Both commencement ceremonies will be streamed live and available to watch on