Class of 2016 given passionate send-off

Addressing the graduates and faculty members assembled on the floor of the James Brown Arena as well as the family and friends crowding the seats above, President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, gave a brief but powerful commencement speech, reminding them all that commencement is a beginning, not an ending.

“Although we all sincerely wish you many fond memories, this place, this day, this time, is not about the past, but instead about the future,” he said. “Your future and the impact you will have on our collective futures.”

Then Keel veered from the familiar list of things graduates are typically told to do by suggesting a list of six things they should never do: never stop learning, never stop dreaming big, never lose the courage to pursue your dreams, never fear failure or dread change, never lose your passion and never think that you can’t make a difference in the world.

“Use not only your head, which we have filled with so much knowledge, but also your heart as well,” he said.

He concluded by reminding the graduates of their strong bond with the institution.

“There is one more thing, and this is the most important ‘never’ of all,” he said. “Never, ever forget that this is your university. This is our university. This is my university, and you will forever be a member of Jaguar Nation.”

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Written by
Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson is publications editor at Augusta University. You can reach him at

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Written by Eric Johnson

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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Students smiling for a photo in front of the James Brown statue downtown.