University of Georgia holds spring graduation delayed by coronavirus

The 75-minute ceremony was much shorter than most years. UGA President Jere Morehead began the festivities with social distancing instructions for a ceremony “long overdue for outstanding graduates.”

UGA closed its campus in March as the pandemic grew in Georgia. The students took classes online for the remainder of the semester. Despite those challenges, Morehead said he had high expectations for the graduates.

“We expect uncommon things from you because you are a graduate of the University of Georgia,” he said.

Jack L. Bush III, a 2020 graduate of the University of Georgia, spoke at the commencement ceremony on Oct. 16, 2020. The ceremony was scheduled in May, but postponed to October because of the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO CREDIT: University of Georgia Marketing & Communications.

Jack L. Bush III, the student speaker, began an uncommon initiative before graduation. Bush started a scholarship fund with his own money for future students to pursue engineering degrees, Morehead said in his introduction.

In his speech, Bush, now an engineer at Lockheed Martin, talked about the good days and the challenging days at UGA.

“Ultimately, we made it,” Bush told the audience.

Bush gave a shout out to his mom and mentioned the names of three African Americans, including Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia, whose deaths sparked nationwide protests and discussions about race relations and discrimination.

After the speeches came the conferring of degrees. The audience then sang the UGA alma mater song.

Another tradition continued at the end. A fireworks show.

October 16, 2020 Athens – Fireworks concluded the 2020 Spring Undergraduate Commencement ceremony at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Friday, October 16, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / [email protected])

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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