Business, Nonprofit Leaders to Speak at Clayton State University Fall Commencement Exercises

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Clayton State University has announced its three keynote speakers for the fall 2017 commencement.
The University has selected three dynamic individuals from the medical, government, and non-profit fields that will share some words of wisdom and congratulate Clayton State’s newest cohort of graduates.
On Friday, Dec. 8, graduate students will hear from Charlotte W. Dupré, president and chief executive officer of Southern Regional Medical Center. Dupré has served in her position since Feb. 1, 2016, and has had a history of successfully guiding hospitals. She also serves as a member of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, undergraduate students will hear from Gerald McDowell, executive director of Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDS, and Keith T. Parker, president and chief executive officer
of Goodwill of North Georgia.
McDowell, who will speak at the 9 a.m. ceremony, is a 30-year senior executive and consultant in the economic development, community development, IT, technology and not-for-profit industries. He manages the operations and development of both the Airport West and Airport South CIDs and is responsible for an operational budget of $2.8 million.
Parker, who will speak at 12 p.m., leads one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the southeast. Goodwill accepts, processes and sells donated goods to support its mission to put people to work. This has resulted in tens of thousands of North Georgians finding jobs each year. Parker recently took the helm at Goodwill of North Georgia on Oct. 16, 2017.
The University has also selected two student speakers to share their Clayton State experience during Saturday’s ceremonies. Allison Higgins, a computer science major, and Velinsie Burden, a sociology major, will speak during commencement.
Clayton State’s fall 2017 commencement is scheduled for Dec. 8-9 in the Athletics Center. This year, graduation ceremonies will be spread between the two days to accommodate the University’s growing number of graduates.
On Friday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m., graduate students from all majors and colleges will take part in commencement. On Saturday, Dec. 9, Clayton State will continue to hold its morning and afternoon ceremonies for undergraduate students.
The first ceremony starting at 9 a.m. will feature all College of Arts and Sciences students, excluding those in the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) program.
During the second ceremony at 12 p.m., BAS students, along with students from the College of Business, College of Health, and College of Information and Mathematical Sciences will graduate.