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Renowned speakers to address graduates at GMC's Commencement Ceremonies

This school year, more than 1,000 GMC graduates will embark on a new chapter in their life as they walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma or Associate’s Degree. To prepare them for this journey, GMC’s graduates will be encouraged and inspired from some of the top leaders in various fields at their commencement ceremonies.

Georgia Military College’s Prep School continues to maintain its 100% graduation rate. This year, 67 graduating seniors will be awarded their high school diplomas. Approximately, 1,844 college graduates will be awarded their Associate’s Degrees across GMC’s 13 campuses. This is an increase in comparison to last year’s 1,666 graduates who received their Associate’s Degrees from GMC. 20 cadets in our Early Commissioning Program will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves or National Guard. These cadets worked tirelessly training to serve our country as members of GMC’s 138th Corps of Cadets.

Below are the speakers and commencement information for GMC’s campuses:

GMC’s Augusta Campus: May 20, 10:00 a.m. at the Bell Auditorium

Commencement Speaker: Ben Harbin

Ben Harbin joined Southern Strategy Group after completing a distinguished 20-year term as a state representative serving the people of Columbia County in the 122nd District. Harbin served as the Vice Chair of the House Health Appropriations Committee, Chair of the Telecommunication subcommittee of House Energy, Utilities, & Telecommunications, and Chair of the Sales Tax Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. A graduate of Georgia Military College, Harbin received the Graduate of Distinction Seal for his major in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of Mercer University where he earned a Master’s of Business Administration.

GMC’s Milledgeville, Sandersville, and Madison Campuses: May 26, 10:00 a.m. at Georgia College & State University’s Centennial Center

Commencement Speaker: Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle made history in 2006 by becoming the first Republican ever elected to Georgia’s second highest office. Cagle was re-elected again in 2010 and 2014. This year, Cagle published his first book, Education Unleashed, to outline his vision for a public education system that will develop the strongest workforce in the world.


GMC’s Commissioning Ceremony: May 26, 3:00 p.m. at GMC’s Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts

Commencement Speaker: Major General Daniel York

Major General Daniel York currently serves as the commander of the 76th United States Army Reserve Operational Response Command in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a 1981 graduate from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York where he received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer.


GMC’s Prep School: May 26, 7:00 p.m. at GMC’s Grant Parade Field

Commencement Speaker: Sloan Gibson

Sloan Gibson is the former United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was confirmed by the United States Senate in 2014. Gibson is a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. He also earned a Master’s in Economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


GMC’s Valdosta Campus: May 26, 7:00 p.m. at the Mathis City Auditorium

Commencement Speaker: Mayor John Gayle

Mayor John Gayle is the Mayor of Valdosta, Georgia. Gayle moved to Valdosta with his family in 1951. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Valdosta State College in 1966. Gayle considers some of his greatest achievements as Mayor by solving the Wastewater Treatment Plant problems and bringing Valdosta to the attention of State Leaders in Atlanta.


GMC’s Columbus Campus: June 2, 2:00 p.m. at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center

Commencement Speaker: Cheryl Renee

Cheryl Renee is a News Anchor at WTVM in Columbus, Georgia. She anchors News Leader 9 mornings and News Leader 9 at Noon each weekday. She also does a weekly report called News 9 MD to give viewers the latest on health news and medical breakthroughs. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in Economics from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; her Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University; and a Master’s Degree in Business from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.


GMC’s Fairburn, Fayetteville, and Stone Mountain campuses: June 3, 10:00 a.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center

Commencement Speaker: Dr. John Eaves

In November 2014, Dr. John Eaves was elected to his third four-year term as Chairman of the Fulton County Commission. Eaves is a 1984 graduate of Morehouse College. He earned a Master’s Degree in Religion from Yale University, and obtained his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.


GMC’s Warner Robins, Dublin, and Eastman Campuses: June 10, 2:00 p.m. at the Homer J. Walker Civic Center

Commencement Speaker: Rep. Shaw Blackmon

State Representative Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) has been serving his constituents in the 146th District since August of 2015. Blackmon is a native of Houston County. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Management Information Systems.