‘This is not goodbye’
More than 600 receive their degrees at VSU
ETTRICK –The graduation ceremonies for Virginia State University’s class of 2017 didn’t just fill the college’s new Multipurpose Center. They filled it twice. In his remarks at the second of two commencement exercises on Saturday, VSU President Makola M. Abdullah acknowledged the fact that the 135-year-old historically black college was marking “the first time we’re having our spring commencement here in our own Multipurpose Center.”
The school previously held its fall semester 2016 graduation last December in the $84 million facility, which was completed a little over a year ago.
The arena seats about 6,000, enough to accommodate the graduates but not all the family members and friends who want to celebrate with them, so Saturday’s graduation was split into two ceremonies, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m.
the “640 scholars we celebrate today.” This year’s graduating class includes six people awarded doctoral degrees, 68 receiving master’s degrees and 568 who earned their bachelor’s degrees.
Korie Collins, senior class president, reminded the graduates that Saturday’s ceremony marked not an ending but a beginning.
“This is not goodbye,” she said. “This is, ‘See you later in the land of success.’”
Keynote speaker Jeff Johnson, managing principal of JIJ Communications, a Baltimore-based marketing firm, sounded a similar note, urging the graduates to realize they were starting their “journey into the marketplace of a global economy.”
Johnson congratulated the graduates for completing their degrees.
“There are a whole lot of people who didn’t make it, but these are the ones who did,” he said.
Now, he said, they should always “know who you’re rollin’ with. ... Many of us come from places where people want to be where we’ve been but don’t want to go where we’re going.”
Johnson also urged the graduates to “know your real value” when going out into the workplace and negotiating salaries and work conditions.
Jeff Johnson, principal of JIJ Communications, delivers the keynote speech as Virginia State University students, faculty and staff celebrate the graduating class of 2017 during commecement ceremony in the Multipurpose Center on campus in Ettrick on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
Virginia State University students, faculty and staff celebrate the graduating class of 2017 during commencement ceremony in the Multipurpose Center on campus in Ettrick on Saturday, May 13, 2017. [SCOTT P. YATES/PROGRESSINDEX.COM]
Virginia State University students, faculty and staff celebrate the graduating class of 2017 during commencement ceremony in the Multipurpose Center on campus in Ettrick on Saturday, May 13, 2017. [SCOTT P. YATES/PROGRESS-INDEX. COM]