For the 138th consecutive year, Florida Southern College hosted Commencement exercises this past weekend, with 459 students earning their undergraduate degrees, 35 earning master’s degrees, and three earning doctoral degrees.
“Today is such a wonderful day, where Florida Southern College celebrates the successes of our students,” said Dr. Anne B. Kerr, president of the College. “We prepare our students for this day, when our soon-to-be graduates will go out and make a consequential impact on our world.”
Held at the RP Funding Center near downtown Lakeland, Mr. Thomas L. Williams, recently retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts, presented the keynote address to the assembled community. Williams, who retired in March after 52 years with the company, was presented with the degree Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, for his lifelong contributions to society. Williams also was installed as the 86th Honorary Chancellor in FSC history.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow graduates was Ms. Alexandra “Lexi” Potter, who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Social Justice, with minors in Pre-Law, English, and Communications. A recipient of a Fulbright study/research grant to Greece, she will be completing a Master’s program in southeast European studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Among the graduates, two received special academic distinction. The Honor Walk designation, which recognizes notable achievements in academics, leadership, and student involvement, was presented to Grace X. Sill. A Religion major, with minors in both English and Ethics, Sill is a Fulbright recipient, and will head to Taiwan in the Fall to study and research several world religions. Sill’s accomplishments will be memorialized with an Honor Walk marker, which has her name etched into it, placed in Mr. George’s Green in perpetuity.
The second major award presented was The President’s Scholar Medal for superb academic achievement. It is awarded in recognition of a student’s academic record and for demonstrating great promise for future success. This year’s winner is Lillee Izadi, who majored in Biology and completed FSC’s pre-med program, graduating summa cum laude. She was a Jenkins Scholar and co-author on multiple publications. Her summer research experiences included internships at Nebraska University and Johns Hopkins University. She also serves on several health-related volunteer groups and hosts her own podcast about medical ethics.