Special Moments: Valdosta State hosts 235th commencement ceremonies

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May 6—VALDOSTA — More than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students walked across the stage during Valdosta State University's 235th commencement ceremonies Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6.

The graduate school commencement ceremony was held 5 p.m. Friday, in the complex.

L'Tyra Williams, two-time graduate of Valdosta State University earned a master of science in criminal justice administration. She received her bachelor of science in criminal justice in May 2021.

"I am very excited to be done because I have been in school nonstop since undergrad. I also did summer school every semester, so I am prepared for a well needed break. I am glad that I went on to get my master's because it has created great relationships with professors who can serve as resources in my career field as well," Williams said.

"I feel like it is important to pursue graduate degrees because they provide a lot of insight into the career fields that you may plan to go into. It is important specifically to me because I use a lot of what I have learned in my field and I have used that information as a tool and guide."

Williams works for the Division of Family and Children Services as an adoptions case manager but she said she hopes to get involved in the court systems as a victim advocate or into juvenile probation.

"I would encourage students to keep going. It may get tiring, frustrating or seem hard but it is important to never stop reaching for what you know you are capable of achieving," she said.

During the ceremony, VSU conferred degrees on its inaugural class of doctor of nursing practice graduates.

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences began offering this advanced-level program in August 2021 and 17 students successfully completed the practice-focused doctorate.

VSU's doctor of nursing practice is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

"It prepares nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice," according to university officials.

The undergraduate commencement ceremony was held 7 p.m. Saturday, on the front lawn where two special moments were shared with graduates and attendees.

Kenny Moore II, NFL Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, earned a bachelor of science in organizational leadership.

Moore played for the Blazers from 2013-16. He completed his degree online while playing cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts and continuing to prioritize his commitment to help those in need, Moore shared in an interview with the Colts.

VSU presented an honorary doctor of arts and letters to Jerry J. Jennett in recognition of his support to the university.

University officials said in a statement, "Jerry J. Jennett continues to change the lives of students every day. He can usually be found attending campus events and performing with VSU's Musical Union and Concert Choir. Gifts from Jerry Jennett and his wife, Kay, have created countless opportunities that were once unthinkable for VSU student-athletes as well as Honors College, College of the Arts and Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration students."

During the undergraduate commencement ceremony, President's Award for Academic Excellence recipients, honor graduates and commissioned Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 172 cadets were recognized.


Valdosta State University's 235th commencement ceremonies held Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6.

Austria Johnson — The Valdosta Daily Times

The graduate ceremony concluded with a confetti display.