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SAU announces spring graduation plans

By submitted, 03/13/21 7:47 AM

MAGNOLIA — Southern Arkansas University’s spring 2021 commencement ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 30, at Wilkins Stadium. 

Ceremonies for associate and bachelor degree candidates will be held at the following times:

  • 8:30 a.m. Rankin College of Business and College of Science & Engineering
  • 11:00 a.m. College of Education and College of Liberal & Performing Arts

The ceremony for all graduate (masters) degree candidates will be held as follows:

  • 1:00 p.m. School of Graduate Studies

The Department of Nursing will host the nursing graduate pinning ceremony at 10:00 a.m. in Reynolds Center Grand Hall.

For those unable to attend, ceremonies will be streamed live on the SAU Facebook page. The names of each candidate will be read aloud regardless of attendance. “We recognize that travel is still not possible for so many families, and the risk to some of our students’ health may prohibit them from attending their college graduation. By streaming the ceremonies live and reading aloud the name of each candidate, we can honor all of our graduates and celebrate this milestone with them,” said President Dr. Trey Berry.

Ed Choate, President and CEO of Delta Dental in Sherwood, will be the speaker for each undergraduate ceremony. Choate has numerous honors, including his selection as the 2006 Arkansas Business Executive of the Year. He was a 2007 SAU Distinguished Alumni selection, 2008’s SAU Executive in Residence, and the 2010 Rotarian of the Year in Little Rock. He graduated from SAU in 1975 with a business degree.

Mary Beth Fain, CFO/manager of finance and accounting at Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, will be the graduate ceremony speaker. Before joining the electric utility industry, Fain worked at a public accounting firm specializing in individual and corporate income tax. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and Master of Business Administration, both from Southern Arkansas University. Recently, she began as an adjunct professor in SAU’s Rankin College of Business, fulfilling her desire to stay engaged with up-and-coming professionals.

Due to SAU’s commitment to public health guidelines, protocols will be effective during each ceremony. The number of guests who may attend per graduate is not limited, and tickets are not required. Every attendee over the age of 10 must wear face coverings to enter, exit, and move within the stadium. Seating will be arranged for social distancing, and guests are asked to please comply by not sitting in marked off areas.

Guests should enter the stadium through the home (west side) entrance gate, and are encouraged to check the forecast to be prepared for outdoor weather. Umbrellas and water bottles will be permitted. In the event of severe weather, check the SAU website, Facebook page, and local media outlets for last minute changes.