Three ceremonies, 4,100 handshakes and countless tears of joy later, another class of Florida State University graduates began preparing for the next chapter of their lives after participating in one of the university’s three Spring 2011 Commencement activities.
"Congratulations to all of you," FSU President Eric J. Barron said in opening remarks at each of the ceremonies, all of which were held at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30. "We are pleased to welcome you as alumni of Florida State University. As you leave Florida State, I want to remind you that you will always be a Seminole."
In all, about 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students have earned their degrees from Florida State this spring. Of that total, 4,100 opted to participate in one of the three Commencements. When their names were called, each of the new graduates walked across the Civic Center stage and shook hands with Barron in recognition of their academic accomplishments.
The keynote speaker for Friday’s ceremony was Shannon DePuy Bream, a Fox News Channel reporter and anchor who graduated with honors from the FSU College of Law in 1996. As a Washington-based correspondent and host of Fox News’ "America’s News Headquarters," Bream interviews top newsmakers and politicians while covering breaking news from around the globe.
On Saturday morning, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, spoke to a second-straight packed house at the Civic Center. As President Obama’s principal military adviser, Mullen presides over all meetings and coordinates the efforts of the Joint Chiefs, advising the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
Speaking at the third Commencement ceremony on Saturday afternoon was another FSU alumnus, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul G. Cantero III (B.A. ’82, English and business). Appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Cantero was the first justice of Hispanic descent and one of the youngest ever to sit on the court. In his six years on the bench, he heard hundreds of appeals and authored well over 100 opinions. Cantero also chaired the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism for six years and served as an adjunct professor at the FSU College of Law.
In 2007, Cantero was honored by the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) with the creation of an endowment in his name. The Justice Raoul G. Cantero III Diversity Enhancement Scholarship at Florida State University was created to financially assist those who share in CABA’s mission to promote equality of its members and increase diversity in the judiciary and in the legal community.
In addition to the three Commencements held in Tallahassee, Florida State’s Panama City campus held its own ceremony on Sunday, May 1. Delbert C. "Ace" Summey, technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, was the keynote speaker at that event.
To view any of the three Spring 2011 Commencement ceremonies, visit learningforlife.fsu.edu/graduation.