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More than 600 participate in fall commencement

Fall 2018 commencement grad
2nd Lt. Rachel Hobgood receives her degree Dec. 15 at one of UNG's two fall commencement ceremonies. One day earlier, Hobgood commissioned in the U.S. Army.

More than 600 students received their degrees at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) two fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 15 at the Convocation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and University System of Georgia Board of Regents member Erin Hames were the commencement speakers. Separate commissioning ceremonies were held Dec. 14 for 26 members of the Corps of Cadets entering the armed forces as second lieutenants.

Carr encouraged graduates "to decide what success will mean to you."

"I hope you love whatever it is you choose to do as much as I do, and I hope that every day you are excited to get out of bed, to get going, to tackle the day, and yes, to serve others," Carr said.

Fall 2018 Commencement Chris Carr

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr spoke at the 10 a.m. Dec. 15 fall commencement ceremony at UNG.

"Be passionate. I hope you give it your all. I hope you give of yourself because that's the best way to find success."

Hames asked graduates to remember what matters most.

"Make commitments and stick with them. Live with conviction and purpose," Hames said. "Pursue those things that are good, true and beautiful. Work hard. Love well. Serve others."

Shannon Williams, a 44-year-old nursing major from Cumming, Georgia, was among the graduates. Coming from the background of firefighting and being a paramedic, Williams embraced his time in the nursing program.

Fall 2018 Commencement Erin Hames

University System of Georgia Board of Regents member Erin Hames spoke at the 3 p.m. Dec. 15 fall commencement ceremony at UNG.

He was elected chairman of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students' Council of School Presidents, becoming the first UNG student elected to a state nursing organization.

From the nursing simulation lab to the relationships he's formed since starting the program in 2013, Williams feels prepared to be a nurse. His goal is five years down the road to get a master's degree in leadership with a focus in nursing so he can become a hospital administrator.

Williams has been hired by Northeast Georgia Health System to work in the emergency room once he passes the national nurse certification test.

Williams said UNG helped him lean into his natural leadership tendencies.

"Nursing is a team effort, and it all starts with the leadership team (school, clinics, hospitals, or offices)," Williams said. "Leadership puts together the best team possible to provide outstanding patient care."

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