Clayton State pupils graduate

Governor emphasizes character as key to success

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Keynote speaker Gov. Nathan Deal spoke to 250 graduates Saturday at Clayton State University.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Keynote speaker Gov. Nathan Deal spoke to 250 graduates Saturday at Clayton State University.

MORROW — Graduates had few words to describe the latest hallmark in their lives.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment,” said Beatrice Eloy as she left her family members to join the commencement procession.

Eloy received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing Saturday from Clayton State University — something she had waited six years to do.

The young mother said she has positive prospects for employment once she passes exams to become a licensed nurse. Her son, Brice Wade, waited with her aunt, Jesula Ornelus, who appeared anxious.

“I’m so excited,” said Ornelus.

There were 265 graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences who heard from keynote speaker Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall during commencement ceremonies.

“The way the world is now, the road less-traveled is not the exception, but the rule,” he said. “We have a GPS [global positioning system] in our cars, but not in our lives. You have to have a GPS for your soul. You have to develop your own GPS along the road of life.”

On Saturday morning, about 250 degree recipients from the College of Business, the College of Health and the College of Information and Mathematical Sciences heard from keynote speaker Gov. Nathan Deal.

“We’re all very proud of you,” said Deal, the first sitting governor to address a Clayton State graduation.

He delivered a two-prong message about going above and beyond to accomplish things in life and doing so with humility and character.

“Good enough is not good enough,” said Deal.

He told listeners to always do better than sufficient. That character, he said, will help guide them to success.

“I believe it’s not what you know or who you know but who you are that dictates your future,” he said.

Deal spoke to more than 1,500 people jammed into Clayton State’s Athletic and Fitness Center.

Denisha Crompton was among them. She flew in from Bakersfield, Calif., to see her brother, David-Tiawian Crompton, graduate with an MBA.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Crompton. “We always knew we were going to have to do something, and he’s very business-minded.”

Graduates had few-but-positive words Saturday.

“I feel good,” said Courtney Carlton, whose mother Carol Carlton of Griffin showed up nearly two hours early to see her graduate.

“I can’t find the words,” said her mother. “She’s awesome. She worked hard for this.”

Carol Carlton sat with family friend Matthew Chambers, who got her daughter “started on this road to success.” She credited Chambers with tutoring and encouraging her to keep working towards her degree.

“Without him, I don’t think she would be here,” she said.

Chambers — who graduates Friday with an MBA from Georgia Southern University — said he helped her believe in herself and told her to “be humble and never give up.”

“And always do the best you can and go the extra mile,” interjected Carol Carlton, echoing the governor’s sentiments.

Commencement ceremonies were also highlighted by the awarding of a posthumous degree to the family of the late Scharlie-Marteace Lockhart, one of Clayton State’s best-known alumni and student workers.

Lockhart died unexpectedly March 1, while pursuing his master’s in liberal studies at Clayton State. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from the university.

Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. Hynes presented the posthumous degree to Lockhart’s mother, Meirley Lockhart of Riverdale. His sister, Dr. Sharbrenia Lockhart-Thompson of Ellenwood, also attended.