Jennifer French Giarratano
Public Relations Manager
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
ATLANTA—Following Georgia State University’s virtual celebration of the Class of 2020, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies has launched an AYS online commencement page to celebrate all of its Spring 2020 graduates and certificate holders.
Featured on the page are an inspiring new video message from Ambassador Andrew Young, a videotaped commencement address from alumna Yterenickia “YT” Bell (BA.Sci. ’11, M.S.W. ’14, M.P.A. ’16), and congratulations from Dean Sally Wallace. Graduates will also find a downloadable commencement brochure, as well as much-needed career resources and alumni networking tips from the school’s Office of Career Services & Alumni Relations.
Amb. Young, whom the school was named for in 1999, helped change the course of history in civil and human rights, has built a remarkable legacy as a civic activist, elected official, groundbreaking ambassador, social entrepreneur, ordained minister and adviser to presidents. In his message to AYS graduates, he focuses on purpose, comparing his graduation into a world that to him in the 1950s was, to him, much like what graduates may feel today.
“You are entering into the same kind of world, where everything is confused, everything is about to be redefined,” he said. “For you, there has got to be a tremendous future. There’s a purpose for you.”
Bell, a social worker who became, in her words, the City of Clarkston’s (Georgia) “youngest black female councilmember” at 26, tells her story as a first-generation college student rising from Sandersville, Ga., “the Kaolin Capital of the World,” to LSAT results that forced her to choose between her parents’ goals for her and her personal drive to serve. In her address, she extolls graduates to “follow your passion and know your path, even though that may change. That’s growth!” She closes with “three pieces of sound advice.”
“It is with great pride that we salute you, our new leaders in the areas of policy, public and nonprofit management, economics, criminal justice and criminology, social work and urban studies,” said Dean Wallace. “We expect that you, armed with your ideas, experiences and vision, will soon make a significant impact on the world. There has never been a time when we needed you more.”
To find the new Spring 2020 AYS Online Commencement page, go to https://aysps.gsu.edu/student-resources/graduate-commencement/.