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Cadet brothers among 1250 in first commencement exercises at new facility

Brooks brothers
Brothers Christian, left, and Nate Brooks graduated and commissioned into the armed services during commissioning and graduation ceremonies held May 4-5 at UNG.

Brothers Nate and Christian Brooks, born 13 months apart and nearly inseparable for 22 years, will be going their separate ways after graduating cum laude from the University of North Georgia (UNG) and commissioning as second lieutenants into different services.

Christian Brooks commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Georgia Army National Guard's Signal Corps and Nate Brooks in the U.S. Army in military intelligence, which means they won't see each other often but both agree that it's time for the next stage in their lives.

"I think it's definitely daunting in the sense that you've been in school all your life and you're about to get out and go do something completely different away from your family," Nate Brooks said. "But in the sense of brotherhood with Christian, it's not going to change anything. I think it's going to be OK. I think we would have problems if we weren't separated because as we grow older and grow more into adulthood, we need that independence."

The two even graduated in two different ceremonies — May 4 for Nate Brooks, who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, and May 5 for Christian Brooks, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. It made commencement weekend a busy one for the Brooks family from Douglasville, Georgia.

The Brooks brothers were homeschooled for most of their K-12 education but finished high school at King's Way Christian Academy, where both were valedictorians of their graduating classes – Nate first and then younger brother Christian. The Brooks brothers started UNG a semester apart after separately attending Basic Training and lived together four years while attending UNG.

Nate and Christian were even part of Foxtrot Company for four years. The friendly competition they had growing up continued in college.

"Being in the same company was daunting because he had already been there a semester and he knew more than me," Christian Brooks said. "There was a little bit of jealousy and healthy competition. So I tried to find out everything he had done so that I could do it better. It was good to have him there to motivate me. He's always been a motivator for me and someone I've always looked up to."

The pair were among some 1,250 graduates who participated in the first-ever commencement ceremonies in UNG's new Convocation Center. For spring semester, UNG will award some 1,969 degrees and certificates.

UNG invited three keynote speakers for the weekend ceremonies: Gen. Stephen Townsend and Bill Mitchell, both UNG alumni, and Yvette Daniels.

Townsend, commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and only the second four-star general to have graduated from UNG, spoke at the May 4 ceremony for graduates of the College of Arts and Letters.

Daniels, director of university relations for the Georgia Department of Public Health, spoke at the May 5 ceremony at 9 a.m. for graduates of the College of Education, College of Health Sciences & Professions and University College.

Mitchell, president of Cici’s Pizza, spoke at the May 5 ceremony at 2 p.m. for graduates of the Mike Cottrell College of Business, College of Science & Mathematics and the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental & Spatial Analysis.

Separate commissioning ceremonies were May 4-5 for 62 members of the Corps of Cadets entering the armed forces as second lieutenants. The individual ceremonies attended by families, friends, faculty, and staff recognized the cadets' service and leadership. Later, during the main commencement ceremony, the cadets again were recognized for their service and repeated their oaths, after which they received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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