Congratulations, Class of 2014!

(Dec. 16, 2014) — On Dec. 13, Armstrong celebrated student success at two high-energy commencement ceremonies attended by graduates, faculty, family and friends.

Armstrong proudly hosted 2014 Fall Commencement, conferring degrees on more than 700 students in ceremonies at the Armstrong Sports Center’s Alumni Arena. University officials recognized students receiving master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and associate’s degrees in a wide range of fields. Students from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Education, College of Health Professions and College of Science and Technology marched in two colorful processionals.

Each procession was led by Armstrong’s new ceremonial mace, which features a custom design by local artists Susie Chisholm, an accomplished bronze sculptor, and Dicky Stone, an acclaimed wood turner. A number of graduates decorated their caps with rhinestones, glitter and personal messages, adding a dash of color and sparkle to the festivities.

University president Dr. Linda M. Bleicken warmly welcomed the 2014 graduates and their families to Fall Commencement.

“Commencement is the culmination of so much effort by so many of our students,” she told the capacity crowd. “It is with sincere congratulations that we recognize each of you today.”

Renee H. Connolly, Ph.D., an Armstrong alum who serves as the director of education development at Palmetto Health’s Office of Graduate Medical Education and Research in Colombia, S.C., delivered the commencement address at both ceremonies.

Connolly discussed her experiences as an English major and a cheerleader at Armstrong, sharing important life lessons she has learned over the years. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of being a life-long learner, embracing change, being tenacious and giving back.

“I hope change gives you just a little anxiety and gives you a new perspective,” she told Armstrong’s class of 2014. “I hope it encourages you to move from something comfortable to something unexpected. I hope you find a soft place to land.”

Graduating students like Lauren DeKalb, who recently completed a B.S. in Health Care Administration at Armstrong, plan to make the most of their education.

“This degree will really help me advance my career,” said DeKalb, who worked full-time at a PruittHealth nursing home in Savannah while earning her degree. “I’m relieved to be done, but I’m extremely excited about the future.”