5,255 students receive degrees at spring UGA Commencement ceremonies

5,255 students receive degrees at spring UGA Commencement ceremonies


Approximately 4,164 undergraduates and 1,091 graduate students—a total of 5,255—were eligible to walk in the University of Georgia's spring Commencement ceremonies on May 10.


U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., delivered the undergraduate commencement address.


Chambliss was first elected to Congress in 1994 as representative of Georgia's 8th District, and, in 2002, was elected to the U.S. Senate. His re-election in 2008 placed Chambliss as Georgia's senior senator, a position from which he will retire in 2014. He is vice chairman of the Senate Selection Committee on Intelligence and oversees the programs and activities of the country's intelligence community, crafts legislation designed to protect Americans and advises leadership on threats and challenges.


Chambliss received his bachelor's degree in business administration from UGA in 1966 and his juris doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1968.


During the ceremony, the university recognized Mary Frances Early with an honorary doctor of laws degree. Early, who graduated from UGA in 1962 with her master's degree in music education, was among the first African-American students to enroll at the university and the first to graduate. She received her specialist degree in music education from UGA in 1967.


Early went on to achieve several accomplishments as a music educator, teacher and mentor to numerous students in her 37 years with the Atlanta Public Schools. During her professional career, she served as a music teacher, planning and development coordinator, elementary division curriculum specialist and music resource teacher at various schools within the system, including John Hope and Wesley Avenue elementary schools and Coan Middle School.


Kaitlin Miller of Stone Mountain was the student speaker during the undergraduate exercises. Miller is a Charter Scholar in the university's Honors Program and will graduate with bachelor's degrees in economics from the Terry College of Business, international affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs and public relations from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Also during the ceremony, 13 students were recognized as First Honor Graduates for maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in all work attempted at UGA as well as all college-level transfer work attempted prior to or following enrollment at the university.


An estimated 176 doctoral candidates and 915 master's and specialist degree students were eligible to walk in the graduate ceremony. UGA professor Stephen Hajduk, head of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, addressed the graduates and guests.


Hajduk's research focuses on the molecular biology and biochemistry of trypanosomes, the causative agent of human African sleeping sickness. His laboratory has been supported by the National Institutes of Health for nearly 30 years.


Before joining the faculty at UGA, Hajduk worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., where he was a senior scientist and director of the Ellison Global Infectious Disease Program and a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Brown University.


Hajduk has come full circle at UGA, receiving his bachelor's degree in science at the university in 1976. He earned his doctorate from the University of Glasgow in 1980 and was a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam in 1979 and a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University from 1980 to 1983.