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Cadet's father sees him commission from Afghanistan

2LT Greg Rader receives a ceremonial first salute from his father, MSG Marshall Rader, who is deployed to Afghanistan. Rader was sworn in by his mother, MAJ Jennifer Lynn Rader, becoming the fourth generation in his family to join the military.

For decades, commissioning ceremonies for cadets at the University of North Georgia have been attended by friends, family and mentors, who often take part in the ceremony. This spring, one cadet needed the help of modern technology to include his parents, both active duty members of the military.

Graduating UNG cadets who are entering active duty in the U.S. Army or Georgia National Guard are sworn in as second lieutenants during individual ceremonies held prior to commencement. 2LT Greg Rader's plans to include his parents in the ceremony seemed to be in jeopardy when his father, MSG Marshall Rader, was deployed to Afghanistan. UNG's Department of Information Technology coordinated a live video feed that allowed Rader's father and several colonels and generals to observe from the base in Afghanistan. MSG Rader also gave his son his first salute, a traditional part of commissioning that was a special moment for 2LT Rader.

"It was really important to me," said Rader, who's from Florida. "It just made me feel really good, because he's the non-commissioned officer in the family and it made me feel special."

His mother, MAJ Jennifer Lynn Rader, a U.S. Army logistics officer, handled swearing-in duties for her oldest child. Like his mother, Rader is going into the Army’s transportation corps.

"I was supremely happy that he decided to follow in our footsteps, because he is our fourth generation," said MAJ Rader, who currently is attending Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the U.S. Army's graduate school. "He is our future and I couldn't be prouder."

Rader earned his bachelor's degree in political science in commencement exercises held Friday, May 10 in Memorial Hall Gym on the Dahlonega campus. After his wedding this summer and additional Army training, Rader expects to report to Virginia, his first duty station, this December.

One of Rader's fellow cadets, who also commissioned as a second lieutenant on Friday, will be traveling quite a bit farther for his first duty station. 2LT Theron Hollar, one of three spring 2013 graduates awarded the university's new bachelor's degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese, will be going to South Korea.

"I actually requested Korea, because there's not really anywhere for me to get stationed in China as a second lieutenant, though I could maybe one day get to Taiwan or maybe at an embassy in China. I figured the best way for me to keep up my language skills would be to go to a country in that region," said Hollar, who's from North Carolina. He's not worried about the recent saber-rattling by North Korea.

Hollar hopes one day to combine the language skills learned at UNG with the logistics skills he expects to learn in the transportation corps, but he's already gained an appreciation for his time as a cadet.

"I'm starting to move away from college life, and I appreciate the corps and who it helped me become and I appreciate the things that, at the time, I wasn't really too happy about doing," he said.

Graduate degrees
Dr. Christopher Jespersen, dean of the College of Arts & Letters, prepares
to drape a graduate hood on Sarah Celeste Dunn, who received a Master
of Music in a commencement ceremony held Friday, May 10, 2013,
on the University of North Georgia's Dahlonega campus.

Friday night's commencement also marked the debut of UNG's new alma mater, written by Nancy Hanson, assistant to the dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business. The melody and men's choir arrangements were written by Dr. Joe Chapman, professor of music and director of keyboard studies. The men's quartet that sang the arrangement included Dr. John Broman, professor of music and director of choral activities; alumnus Randy Barker; Rich Grimshaw, a student who graduated Friday night; and Dr. Mark Spraker, professor of physics and head of the UNG Faculty Senate. 

UNG awarded nearly 1,300 degrees—497 associate, 672 bachelor's, 91 graduate, and 29 doctoral—in seven commencement exercises held over two weekends on the Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses.

To see more photos from UNG's spring 2013 graduations, visit the university's official Facebook page.

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