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University of North Georgia's fall commencement ceremonies set for Dec. 15 and 16

December 4, 2017

The University of North Georgia (UNG) will host four commencement ceremonies to celebrate the students, families and friends of the fall 2017 graduating class.

Two UNG professors, Dr. Donna Gessell, professor of English, and Dr. Ben Wynne, professor of history, will be the featured commencement speakers. Both professors were honored earlier this year as 2017 UNG Distinguished Professors by the UNG Alumni Association.

Wynne will address the two ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 15 on UNG’s Gainesville Campus in the Hugh Mills Physical Education Center. It will include associate degree candidates from all campuses, and bachelor's degree candidates from Gainesville and Oconee campuses.

The 5 p.m. commencement will include graduates from the College of Arts & Letters, College of Health Sciences and Professions and University College. The 8 p.m. ceremony will include graduates of the College of Education, College of Science and Mathematics, Mike Cottrell College of Business, and the Lewis F. Rogers Institute of Environmental & Spatial Analysis.

A native of Florence, Mississippi, Wynne earned his Ph. D. in history from the University of Mississippi, his M.A. in History with honors from Mississippi College and a B.B.A. from Millsaps College.

Wynne specializes in antebellum American history, history of the American South and Civil War history. He is the author of three books, "Mississippi’s Civil War: A Narrative History," "A Hard Trip: A History of the 15th Mississippi Infantry" and "In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers and the Roots of American Music." He edited and annotated "The Personal Observations of a Man of Intelligence: Notes of a Tour of North America in 1861," by James Fergusson.

Wynne also wrote introductions for reprints of "The Rise the Confederate Government" and "The Fall of the Confederate Government" by Jefferson Davis, "Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War" by G.F.R. Henderson, "Mosby’s Memoirs" by John S. Mosby, and "Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee" by Robert E. Lee. In addition, Wynne has contributed entries to more than 20 encyclopedias and reviewed books for numerous national and regional academic journals. He is a member of the American Historical Association, the Southern Historical Association and Phi Alpha Theta.

On Saturday, Dec.16, Gessell will address graduates at two commencement ceremonies on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus at Memorial Hall Gymnasium. Graduate degree candidates from all campuses, and bachelor's degree candidates from the Dahlonega and Cumming campuses will be recognized

At 10 a.m. graduates of the College of Arts & Letters, College of Education and University College will be recognized. The 2 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduates from the College of Health Sciences & Professions, College of Science & Mathematics and the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

Gessell teaches composition, linguistics and literature at UNG. She earned her Ph.D. in English literature at Case Western Reserve University, where she also earned her M.A. Her undergraduate degrees, a B.S. in English education and B.A. in liberal arts, comparative literature, were earned cum laude from Ohio State University.

She has taught abroad at Zhejiang Normal University, China, in 2015, and for the cadet program in Tanzania in 2011.Teaching fulltime since 2013, she serves as graduate advisor for the English department and co-advisor for the Chestatee Review, UNG’s literary and visual arts magazine. She serves as a board member of Lumpkin Literacy and chairs the Dahlonega Literary Festival.

Due to heavy anticipated attendance, tickets are required for each ceremony. Students who have applied for fall graduation may pick up their graduation packets, which include their designated number of tickets, at their home campus bookstore the week before graduation.

Graduates are asked to read all instructions and information in their packets and should arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the commencement ceremonies. Graduates and guests should allow extra time due to increased traffic and parking on both campuses.

Doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of ceremonies and each commencement will last between 60 and 90 minutes.

Graduates, family and friends are also asked to share their success via social media using #UNG17grad; posts and photos using the hashtag can be viewed before, during and after the weekend's ceremonies.

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