The colleges of the University of North Georgia have selected their speakers for this spring's seven commencement ceremonies, set for May 4 on the Gainesville campus and May 10-12 on the Dahlonega campus. The Dahlonega campus will host separate ceremonies in Memorial Hall Gymnasium for each college, and the Gainesville campus will host two ceremonies in the gym of the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex.
- 10 a.m. May 4: For the Gainesville ceremony honoring graduates of the College of Education and the Mike Cottrell College of Business, the guest speaker will be Bob Swoszowski, owner of Northeast Georgia Inc., which operates 11 McDonald’s restaurants in northeast Georgia. Swoszowski has received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the American Cancer Society, the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department, Gainesville State College, and twice from the American Red Cross. Swoszowski also recently joined the Business Advisory Council of the Mike Cottrell College of Business.
- 2 p.m. May 4: For the Gainesville ceremony honoring graduates of the College of Arts & Letters and the College of Science & Mathematics, the guest speaker will be Rich White. He is the current chairman of the University of North Georgia - Gainesville Foundation, Inc. Under White's leadership in various executive roles, the First National Bank of Gainesville, now Regions Bank, developed its mortgage lending division, which grew to a peak volume of $1.2 billion in annual production. He is current chairman of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank and past chairman of the North Georgia Community Foundation and the Gainesville Junior College Foundation.
- 7 p.m. May 10: Mary Helen Mashburn McGruder, vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Georgia Foundation – Dahlonega, Inc., will be guest speaker for the College of Arts & Letters' Dahlonega ceremony. McGruder is founding president of the Forsyth County United Way and the Sawnee Woman’s Club. She also has served as chairman of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, is the current chairman of the Forsyth County Library Board of Trustees, and president of the Sawnee Mountain Foundation. McGruder also was selected as a community representative on the Consolidation Implementation Committee.
- 11 a.m. May 11: The College of Science & Mathematics has selected Dr. Martha Roberts for its Dahlonega ceremony. Roberts, special assistant to the director of the Office of Governmental Affairs of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was formerly Florida’s deputy commissioner of agriculture. She was also the first woman in the U.S. to serve as an assistant commissioner of agriculture, and graduated summa cum laude from then-North Georgia College in 1960.
- 3 p.m. May 11: The Mike Cottrell College of Business has chosen Bob Swoszowski for its Dahlonega ceremony.
- 2 p.m. May 12: For its Dahlonega ceremony, the College of Health Sciences & Professions has selected Dr. Ben C. Mathes, president of Rivers of the World, an international exploration and development agency that targets remote river basins. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Mathes has traveled the world since 1978 on a mission to improve international health development. He has served in more than 20 impoverished countries, and his organization is responsible for treating more than 1 million cases of river blindness and immunizing more than 775,000 children against polio.
- 5 p.m. May 12: Mathes also will be guest speaker for the College of Education's Dahlonega ceremony.
The commissioning ceremonies in Dahlonega for new second lieutenants will be conducted during the commencement ceremony of the degree-granting college. The Office of the Professor of Military Science will disseminate dates and times for individual commissioning ceremonies, which will be held in the Military Leadership Center. A reception for each commissioning cadet will be held immediately after each individual commissioning ceremony.
Tickets will be required by guests to attend all ceremonies. Graduation candidates will each receive eight tickets for their guests. For those who do not need all of their tickets, representatives will be collecting unused tickets at the main entrance to Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex in Gainesville and Memorial Hall gymnasium in Dahlonega as people arrive to the ceremonies. These tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis one hour before the start of each ceremony.
Also, on April 25, the Master of Science in Nursing program will hold a celebration day to honor the pending graduation of 21 students of the Family Nurse Practitioner program and three post-master's students. This event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Baptist Student Union across from the main entrance of UNG's Dahlonega campus.