Florida State University’s three spring commencement ceremonies will spotlight keynote speakers who have inspired significant impacts in their industries.
The three separate ceremonies on May 5 and 6 will feature Wendy Ludlow Clark, chief executive officer of advertising agency DDB North America; Michael Goldberg, chief executive officer of advertising agency Zimmerman; and Brian P. Murphy, CEO of cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest.
More than 6,800 students will receive degrees this spring: 5,246 bachelor’s graduates, 1,033 master’s graduates and 522 doctoral graduates. Florida State University President John Thrasher will preside over each of the three ceremonies at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St.
FSU Panama City will hold its commencement at 1:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, May 7, at the Panama City Marina Civic Center.
The spring commencement in Tallahassee is expected to set a record for attendance. So far, more than 5,100 students have completed RSVPs online and reserved guest tickets. That means the Civic Center will be at capacity for each ceremony. Each will last about three hours as a result of the record participation.
In anticipation of heavy traffic and maximum-capacity crowds, graduates and families are encouraged to arrive early because parking and guest seating is limited. Doors open one hour before each ceremony.
Additional seating will be available in another room on the lower level of the Civic Center in case the main arena reaches capacity. The ceremonies will be simulcast to screens in the adjoining room and also live-streamed on the web (see below).
Florida State will present special recognition to students and student-veterans who have earned academic honors, including induction into the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society. A total of 129 student-veterans will receive degrees this spring.
Clark will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5, to the graduates of Arts and Sciences, Human Sciences, Medicine (doctoral degrees only) and Motion Picture Arts.
Clark, who graduated from Florida State with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing in 1991, became the chief executive officer of DDB North America in 2016. She has been described as one of the most important women in marketing by Advertising Age. Her career achievements have been recognized by New York Women in Communications, Advertising Women of New York and Fortune Magazine. In 2007, she was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement.
Goldberg will speak at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 6, to the graduates of Applied Studies, Communication and Information, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Engineering, Fine Arts, The Graduate School (materials science graduates only) and Social Sciences and Public Policy.
Goldberg, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1988, is the chief executive officer of Zimmerman Advertising based in Fort Lauderdale. The agency operates in nearly 20 cities, employs more than 1,000 people and generates revenues of more than $3 billion a year. Its list of clients includes Nissan, Party City, Dunkin’ Donuts, Michaels and more.
Murphy will speak at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6, to graduates of Business, Education, Dedman School of Hospitality, Music, Nursing and Social Work. Murphy earned degrees in accounting and finance from Florida State in 2000.
Murphy is the founder of cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest. Since its founding in 2007, the company has grown into one of the leading providers of IT security solutions for Fortune 2000 organizations across the world. In 2011, FSU’s College of Business awarded Murphy the first-ever “Recent Alumni Achievement Award.” It was established to honor alumni from the past 10 years who had accomplished significant professional and personal achievements since graduating.
In addition to the three graduation ceremonies:
- The FSU College of Social Work will host a convocation ceremony for its own students in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, May 5. The convocation, led by Dean Jim Clark, will include a pinning ceremony and recognize accomplishments of the graduating class. Kotrish Wright, a social work student pursuing a master’s degree, will address graduates along with keynote speaker Jack Richman — an educational leader in social work and an FSU alumnus (Ph.D. in counseling). The graduating class includes 75 bachelor’s, 89 master’s and one doctoral graduate.
- The College of Nursing will hold its pinning ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 5, in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Westcott Building. Each nursing graduate receives a pin. It recognizes the completion of educational requirements, allowing alumni to seek a state nursing license. In the 2017 graduating class, 74 students earned bachelor’s, nine earned master’s and 20 earned Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. College of Nursing alumna Loretta Jackson Brown will be the guest speaker. Several students will also be honored for scholarly achievement and outstanding performance for their clinical work at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Medical Center.
- Army ROTC will commission 24 cadets — 16 for active duty, three for the Army Reserves and five for the Army National Guard — during a ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in Moore Auditorium, Oglesby Union. The guest speaker will be U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Murray, the father of a graduate.
- Air Force ROTC will commission 19 cadets during a ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in Opperman Music Hall, Kuersteiner Music Building. The guest speaker will be U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Terry Gabreski.
- The College of Law will hold its commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 7, in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida will be the featured commencement speaker. The ceremony will be followed by a reception on the law school green.
- FSU Panama City will hold its commencement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, May 7, at the Panama City Marina Civic Center. FSU Provost Sally McRorie and FSU Panama City Dean Randy Hanna will preside. U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a surgeon who represents the Second Congressional District of Florida, will deliver the commencement address. FSU Panama City’s commencement will have 315 graduates, including 30 student-veterans who will wear the official FSU Student Veteran Honor Cords in recognition of their service and sacrifice.
- The College of Medicine will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for 117 students receiving the Doctor of Medicine degree and 11 students receiving the Master of Science Bridge to Clinical Medicine degree. Jon Appelbaum, M.D., interim chair of clinical sciences at the College of Medicine, will deliver a commencement address to the graduates.
The record crowds expected Saturday at the Civic Center could create an overlap in traffic between the morning and afternoon ceremonies. As a result, Saturday morning guests are asked to exit the Civic Center parking areas as quickly as possible to open up spaces for afternoon guests.
Florida State will once again live-stream commencement ceremonies on the web. Live-streaming allows family and friends to view the ceremony in real time from anywhere in the world.
If you would like to take advantage of this “virtual attendance” instead of attending in person, the webcast is called “FSU COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY — SPRING 2017.” It will be available at this link: www.learningforlife.fsu.edu/fsu-graduation/. You’ll also find webcasts of past graduation ceremonies there.