Approximately 350 graduate from Bainbridge College Saturday
Approximately 350 students from Bainbridge College graduated Saturday, which marked a milestone where the number of BC graduates is approaching 5,000, and the college’s third president was honored for his five-year tenure that was marked by tremendous growth at the college.
“When these ceremonies are over, there will be almost 5,000 Bainbridge College alumni,” Bainbridge College President Richard Carvajal told the audience Saturday that packed into the Student Wellness Center on the BC main campus.
The commencement ceremony included honoring former BC President Tom Wilkerson, who was presented with the rank of President Emeritus; BC student Wes Potter from Whigham, who was named recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Medallion; and the families of two late students--Debra Sherane Zuniga, who died in December but would have graduated Saturday with multiple degrees, and Joel David “Joey” Maxwell, a BC student who was on the dean’s list with plans to transfer to the University of Georgia in the fall to pursue a degree in agricultural engineering.
Dr. Carvajal cited the legacy Dr. Wilkerson had during his tenure from 2005 to 2010.
“During his 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, including the Kirbo Regional Center, the addition to the Early County center and the Student Wellness Center,” Dr. Carvajal said. “To say that Dr. Wilkerson left Bainbridge College better than he found it would most certainly be an understatement.”
Dr. Wilkerson, the college’s third president, was presented the rank of President Emeritus, becoming the second person in BC’s history to be awarded with that distinction. Founding President Ed Mobley, who was also present Saturday, was the first.
Dr. Steve Wrigley, Executive Chancellor for Administration for the University System of Georgia and the former chief of staff for then Gov. Zell Miller, told the students to follow their dreams, but dreams take a lot of determination and hard work.
“Benjamin Franklin, one of the biggest dreamers of our history, once said, ‘Never confuse motion with action,’” Dr. Wrigley said in his commencement address. He then outlined six pieces of advice to the students:
• Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your dreams. It is OK to change course in life. Just do so deliberately.
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. “You know about hard work and success or you would not be here today. So as you move on from here to a job or more education, keep that sense of accomplishment alive even as you face setbacks,” Dr. Wrigley said.
• If you achieve a dream, don’t stop dreaming. He said if Steve Jobs had stopped dreaming with the invention of the first Apple computer more than 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be enjoying our iPhones, iPods and iPads today.
• Whatever you do in life, take it seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
• Show courage in difficult times. Dr. Wrigley told the story of the late U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, who served as a navigator on a bomber during World War II. During a mission, his plane was hit by enemy fire and the pilot announced that the plane was on fire. “Katzenbach showed courage,” because Dr. Wrigley said he came back over the intercom and calmly replied, “that’s too bad.” Dr. Wrigley then added, “So don’t just have courage, show courage. You will find it infects those around you with courage as well.”
• Dr. Wrigley concluded with his last piece of advice: “Take time for yourself and make sure that those you love take time for themselves.”