FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 14, 2010
Contact: Robert Preston, Jr.,
Dr. Cottingham to SGC Grads: “It’s Your Time to Be
Over 140 graduates walked across the stage and received
their diplomas at the 81st Annual Commencement Exercises at South Georgia State College on Thursday, May 6. An estimated 1,000 friends, family and community
dignitaries gathered on the front lawn to watch the celebration of academic
Dr. James A. “Jim” Cottingham, SGC’s Vice President for Student Affairs,
served as the keynote speaker for the event. At the end of June, Dr.
Cottingham will bring to a close a 32-year career at South Georgia State College.
His affiliation with the college, however, goes back much farther. Dr.
Cottingham lived in Davis Hall for six years while his father, Dr. Tom
Cottingham, was a faculty member at SGC. Jim moved with his family to North
Carolina before returning to Douglas while he was in high school. He
eventually graduated from Coffee High School and SGC before transferring to
Appalachian State University. In 1978, he accepted a position with SGC and
has been on campus since then.
In his remarks, Dr. Cottingham recalled words spoken at SGC commencement
addresses in the past from a variety of speakers, including former Governor
and U.S. Senator Zell Miller, Smithsonian Institution Secretary Dr. Wayne
Clough, former SGC and Florida State University head football coach Bobby
Bowden, and Oscar Street, the first African American student to graduate
As Dr. Cottingham closed his address, he related a story told to him by his
daughter, Katherine, who is a fourth grade teacher at Westside Elementary
School. She was recently discussing the 2010 census with her students, most
of whom were nine years old. Katherine told her students that they weren’t
around for the last census. This time, though, they were and it is their
time to count. Dr. Cottingham left the graduates with the same sentiment.
“This is your time to be counted. And we’re so glad that you’re being
counted. We’re so glad you’re here. We’re glad that you’re rejecting
rejection. And we urge you to keep on keeping on,” he said.
After his comments, Dr. Virginia Carson, SGC President, surprised Dr.
Cottingham with a special recognition. Douglas Mayor Jackie Wilson, who was
in the audience, had signed a proclamation that designated Thursday, May 6,
2010, as Jim Cottingham Day in Douglas. Dr. Carson also announced that the
SGC Foundation had named a scholarship in Dr. Cottingham’s honor, which will
be awarded in Fall 2011.
Following Dr. Cottingham’s acknowledgment, Dr. Carl McDonald, SGC’s Vice
President for Academic Affairs, presented the graduates. Thereupon, Dr.
Carson conferred the degrees. The graduates, their families, friends, and
SGC faculty and staff then enjoyed refreshments on the front lawn.
Click here to
view an online video of Graduation 2010
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About South Georgia State College
South Georgia State College (www.sgc.edu)
was founded in 1906 and is a two-year institution in the University System
of Georgia. Located in Douglas, Ga., the college's environment gives
students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close
collaboration with faculty.