FSCJ celebrated the achievements of thousands of proud students during the 51st annual Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2018, at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Surrounded by an audience of their families and friends, students who completed FSCJ’s bachelor’s and associate degree programs accepted their diplomas from FSCJ Interim President Kevin E. Hyde and members of FSCJ’s District Board of Trustees.
Approximately 3,689 degrees were awarded to FSCJ graduates and candidates for the 2017-18 academic year, with some students earning more than one degree. Of these, 2,212 were associate in arts degrees, 771 were associate in science degrees and 706 were bachelor’s degrees.
In President Hyde’s graduation address, he spoke of persistence in the next phase of the graduates’ journeys, also emphasizing the importance of showing gratitude to those who helped the graduates achieve their goals.
“Whatever lies ahead of you, I implore you to continue to challenge yourself. Let this great achievement serve as the launching pad that propels you into the fulfilling and enriching life that you deserve,” said President Hyde.
Associate in Arts Graduate Nadia Esha gave a powerful speech to her fellow students, sharing her own experiences as an international student from Bangladesh.
Ms. Esha said, “Getting to where I am today was not easy. In fact, like many of you, I faced many obstacles throughout my life. Obstacles that stood in the way of my hopes and dreams, but, through hard work, dedication, and sometimes tears, we made it here today to celebrate our great achievements.”
Community Philanthropist and Retired NFL Player Rashean Mathis was the keynote speaker. Bringing together his Jacksonville background and life experiences, graduates and guests were moved by his speech on the need for confidence and grit especially in seasons of change.
President Hyde presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to State Representative Clay Yarborough. In addition, an honorary degree was awarded to Mrs. Miyuki Scheidel in recognition for her longstanding service and philanthropic support to FSCJ and the Jacksonville community. Mrs. Scheidel was unable to attend and Mr. Wes Scheufler accepted the degree on her behalf.
Graduates may find their formal photos for purchase at gradimages.com. Additional candid photos and videos of the day are available on FSCJ’s Flickr page and social media pages, @FSCJOfficial.