Florida State University Graduation

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By: Mike Springer
May 4, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Thousands of Florida State University students are saying goodbye to the classroom and hello to the real world.

Students, faculty, family and friends packed inside of the Civic Center for the University's Spring graduation ceremonies.

Some of this year's graduation speakers were National Hurricane Center Director Doctor Rick Knabb, film producer Elam Stoltzfus and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki.

The graduates say they're excited about what the future holds.

"It feels great. It feel great. Ending one chapter and starting the next," said FSU graduate, Jazmin Ghent.

"It feels pretty good. It's my fifth year. Two colleges I've been to now so it's about time. But I'm going to miss it for sure," said FSU graduate, Jonathan Bockman.

The University estimates about 3900 of its 6200 graduating students participated in the graduation ceremonies at the Civic Center.

Press Release: Florida State University

National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb, Florida nature film producer Elam Stoltzfus and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki will deliver the commencement addresses at Florida State University's three spring graduation ceremonies.

About 3,900 of 6,200 graduating Florida State students will participate in this year's ceremonies at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St.

Knabb will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, to the graduates of the colleges of Arts and Sciences; Criminology and Criminal Justice; and Human Sciences. Also during this ceremony, the university's Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor for 2013-2014 will be recognized. Shridhar K. Sathe, a food scientist in the College of Human Sciences, will receive the highest honor the university faculty bestows on one of their own.

Knabb earned two meteorology degrees from Florida State — a Master of Science in 1993 and a doctorate in 1999. He became a household name working as the Weather Channel's tropical weather expert before being named director of the National Hurricane Center in June 2012. He is the fourth graduate of Florida State to serve as its director. The other three are Neil Frank, Max Mayfield and Bill Proenza.

Stoltzfus will speak at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4, to the graduates of the colleges of Communication and Information; Engineering; The Graduate School (materials science graduates only); Motion Picture Arts; Nursing; Social Sciences and Public Policy; and Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance.

Stoltzfus, owner of Live Oak Production Group Studios, earned a Bachelor of Science in media production from Florida State in 1988. During his career, he has made several films highlighting Florida's natural beauty, including "Big Cypress: The Western Everglades" and "The Kissimmee Basin: The Northern Everglades." His latest project is about the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a conservation effort to connect natural landscapes from the Everglades to Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp.

Shinseki will speak at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 4, to the graduates of the colleges of Business, Education, Music and Social Work.

Shinseki, a retired U.S. Army four-star general, has served as secretary of Veterans Affairs since 2009. He began his Army career in 1965 as a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, commissioned as a second lieutenant. Afterward, he served two tours in Vietnam with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions. As he rose through the ranks during his 38-year career, his service included command posts at home and abroad. His final active-duty post was as the 34th chief of staff of the Army from 1999 to 2003.

Other Florida State University commencement ceremonies:

Actor, writer and communications professional Thom Gossum Jr. will be the keynote speaker at Florida State's Panama City campus commencement. The ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, May 5, at the Panama City Marina Civic Center. A total of 352 degrees will be awarded during the 2012-2013 academic year to students attending the Panama City campus; approximately 200 graduates will participate in the May 5 ceremony.

The convocation ceremony for Florida State's College of Nursing will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Godby High School auditorium in Tallahassee. Professor Sally Karioth will be the speaker at the event, in which 87 candidates for bachelor's degrees and 16 for Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees will be recognized.

Florida State's Army ROTC will commission 22 cadets at a 5 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 4, in Miller Hall, C3300 University Center. The guest speaker will be Army Maj. Gen. James D. Tyre.

The Florida State College of Medicine will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for 113 students receiving Doctor of Medicine degrees and 14 students receiving Master of Science Bridge to Clinical Medicine degrees. Robert Watson, M.D., a professor in the college's Department of Clinical Sciences, will be the speaker. Watson, who teaches in the area of neurosciences, has received numerous teaching awards, including the 2005 Association of American Medical Colleges Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award. The award is the highest national recognition given for contributions to the medical education mission.

The Florida State College of Law will hold its spring commencement at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Alumnus John W. Frost II, a member of the College of Law's charter Class of '69, will be the commencement speaker. He is a founding partner of Frost Van den Boom & Smith P.A., a statewide civil trial law firm. The ceremony will be followed by a reception on the law school green.

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