Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Georgia Gwinnett College graduated more than 270 students Friday at its spring commencement. About 2,500 people attended the ceremony, which was held on the collegeis lawn.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- For one local family, Friday's ceremony marked far more than the end of a four-year stint studying for their recent graduate.
It was the perpetuation of precious family tradition.
Much like her sister, mother, grandmother and grandfather, Stephanie DuBose was born to teach kids. The proud family stood by her side Friday, taking pictures, preserving the moment as she received a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
Like more than 270 other students Friday, she graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College during the institution's spring commencement, which was held on the main lawn.
More than 2,500 people flocked to the campus to see friends and loved ones cross the stage and receive a long-awaited reward for their efforts.
Former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young gave the keynote address.
He spoke words of encouragement to the "young leaders," encouraging them to keep their heads up.
"The very things that I was afraid of when I was a young man ended up shaping my life," Young said. "All the stumbling blocks ... ended up becoming stepping stones to bigger, better things."
Young encouraged the graduates to "find your life. You were not put here to be a pawn in a grand chess strategy. You are kings, queens, bishops, rooks and knights that can shape the world in which you live."
In addition to Young's speech, the occasion included two milestones for the college: the first graduate to receive a double major and the first to receive a double degree.
Katheryn Nikolich graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and political science, while Blair Sanders received a bachelor's degree in both English and information technology. Both graduated magna cum laude.
Also graduating was Seijin Tranberg, GGC's first Fulbright Scholar. He will spend a year in South Korea through the Fulbright program, after which he plans to pursue a graduate degree. He graduated magna cum laude in political science with a concentration in international relations.
Jose Armendariz was also recognized as the institution's 1,000th graduate.
The ceremony also marked the last graduation speech for Daniel J. Kaufman as college president. He will become president of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce effective July 1, almost eight years after helping create the college.
In his final remarks, Kaufman offered advice to the graduates, challenging them to be lifelong learners.
"Make your world what it needs to be," he said. "There is no shortage of challenges. Do not be deterred. You know how to imagine, how to anticipate, how to create. You did it here. Now go do it to your world."
The DuBose family said they are anxious to see what kind of difference the recently graduated Stephanie DuBose can make in the classroom and in her community.
"Education," mom Jane DuBose said, "is a family business. We're excited to see Stephanie graduate today and pursue her dreams."