More than 320 students graduate from Reinhardt University Friday
By Erika Neldner
Reinhardt University celebrated more than a century of education, dedication and success May 4 as more than 320 degrees were conferred at the 131st Commencement Ceremony held on Ken White Field at University Stadium.
President Dr. Kina S. Mallard recognized a special graduate and alumnus during the ceremony. Hugh Sheffield graduated 50 years ago in 1968, and Friday, his grandson Benjamin Wheeler walked across the stage earning his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Read more about this story here.
Graduate Ansley Avera, in her student reflection, highlighted the stellar accomplishments of her fellow graduates. She impressed upon all of the imprints the graduates have left at Reinhardt University through athletic achievements, internships and more.
“We can see these great additions to your lives. Each triumph took work, perseverance and practice,” Avera said. “Be proud of what you have done. I challenge each of you to continue to leave fingerprints throughout your life.”
Keynote speaker Chanda Bell ’94 spoke of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She told her story of being a mediocre student and coming from meager beginnings. “I am ordinary.
“The most unlikely candidates can accomplish big things. The disciples were first fishermen, Jesus himself was originally a carpenter, Billy Graham was a son of dairy farms and was turned away from a local youth group for being too worldly, Beyoncé swept up hair at her mom’s salon, Gwen Stefani worked at Dairy Queen, Hugh Jackman was a PE teacher and a party clown, and I was a little girl with average grades from Woodstock, Georgia who wrote a book with her mom,” Bell said. “Now I’m speaking to you fine people on your graduation day trying to inspire you. So, work hard. Work with integrity. Grasp at opportunity and do it all with character and class. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The right opportunity will come your way, and when it does, you will be ready for it.”
Following the reading of the names, Dr. Mallard referenced “I got a name,” a song by Jim Croce sang by School of Performing Arts graduate Cameron Smith at his senior recital.
“As you walked across the stage today, you heard the reading of your name. And now your name is added to the more than 12,000 alumni of Reinhardt College and Reinhardt University,” Mallard said. “Your name is the blueprint of the thing we call character, the focus of CEO Bell’s graduation talk today. And what’s in a name? Everything you do.
"I challenge you today to protect your name and to cherish the name of Reinhardt as you move on down the highway, as you move ahead so life won’t pass you by,” she added.
Congratulations Class of 2018!