MGA to Graduate 630 at Spring Commencement Ceremonies; Life Balance Inc. President Is Commencement Speaker

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Business | Students | Events- Students | Pressroom | School of Health Sciences | College of Arts and Sciences | Honors/Awards | School of Aviation | School of Education and Behavioral Sciences | School of Information Technology

Macon, GA


Nearly 630 students are eligible to graduate from Middle Georgia State University at spring commencement ceremonies scheduled for Thursday, May 9. Mary LoVerde, president of Life Balance Inc., and a writer and speaker, will be the commencement speaker.

The University will hold three ceremonies on Thursday, May 9. The 9 a.m. ceremony is for graduates of programs in the School of Health Sciences. The 1 p.m. ceremony is for graduates of programs in the School of Business and the School of Education & Behavioral Sciences. The 4 p.m. ceremony is for graduates of the Georgia Academy and of programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Aviation, and the School of Information Technology.

All three ceremonies will take place in the Recreation and Wellness Center of Middle Georgia State’s Macon Campus.

Of the estimated 630 graduates, nearly 60 are set to receive master's degrees while about 415 will receive bachelor's degrees. The rest will receive associate's degrees.

Mary LoVerde will appear at all three ceremonies as the commencement speaker. Her biography describes her as someone who failed to be a "superperson" while she was a busy mother with a demanding career at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Struggling valiantly to keep up, LoVerde said she turned to time management, prioritizing, delegating and simplifying, yet she continued to feel overwhelmed and torn apart. She said one day, while furiously working away at her computer and “shouting at the kids to keep their distance,” she realized a startling fact: in her zeal to get everything done, she had become disconnected − from her family, from her work and from the person she was and wanted to be.

LoVerde decided to adopt a new life motto: When you can't keep up, CONNECT. Now an international speaker, consultant and writer, LoVerde also is president of Life Balance Inc., a company devoted to spreading the message of finding balance through connection. She is the author of several best-selling books including, "Stop Screaming at the Microwave! – How to Connect Your Disconnected Life," "I Used to Have a Handle on Life But It Broke: Six Power Solutions for Women with Too Much to Do," "Touching Tomorrow: How to Interview Your Loved Ones to Capture a Lifetime of Memories on Video/Audio" and "The Invitation … When You’re Ready to Take Your Next Step."

LoVerde has travelled from Bangkok to Biloxi sharing her innovative strategies for staying connected to what matters most. She has appeared on "Oprah" (four times) and been a guest on an "ABC 20/20" special about women and stress and on ABC’s "World News Tonight." Her original work has been published in "The Wall Street Journal," "New England Journal of Medicine" and "Ladies Home Journal." Her signature gift of a "Memory Jar," filled with handwritten reminiscences to her mother, has been adopted around the world. She presents to her readers and audiences uplifting insights and innovative ideas for taking small steps in the right direction for a less stressful, more satisfying life. Inspired by her mother, who was separated from her sisters and put into foster care at the age of nine, LoVerde became the national spokesperson for "Camp to Belong," which reunites brothers and sisters placed in different foster homes for events of fun, emotional empowerment and sibling connection.

LoVerde has been an employee, an employer and an entrepreneur, making her realistic about the challenges of long hours, family commitments, crazy travel and the desire to have a life that includes sleep.

The graduating senior speaking at all three ceremonies will be Scholar. Taylor Lauren Cravey, the 2019 President's Scholar. Cravey got a head start on her teaching career through the new “Interns as Teachers” program, serving as the teacher of record for a third-grade class at Veterans Elementary School in Macon under the guidance of a more experienced teacher and her education professors at Middle Georgia State University.

“The support of my professors at MGA has been phenomenal,” Cravey said. “My professors are advocates for their students’ education and are always willing to do what it takes in order to see their students succeed.”

Originally from Dudley, Ga., the 22-year-old Cravey graduated from West Laurens High School, where she was a member of the Beta Club, ran cross country, played softball and worked two part-time jobs. She chose Middle Georgia State University for its elementary education program and for the opportunity it would give her to save money by living with her family while going to school. Cravey said she is graduating with zero student-loan debt.

While attending MGA, Cravey volunteered with the Sailor Kate Ministry, Children’s Medical Services and CSB Clubhouse of Middle Georgia. She was a member of the President’s Torch Society in 2017 and is currently a member of Kappa Delta Pi.

In the summer of 2017, she studied abroad in Ireland, something she cites as one of the academic highlights of her time at Middle Georgia State. “I was able to study another culture’s history, language and arts,” she said. “I was also able to travel around Ireland and experience the beautiful countryside and cities and the amazing food.”

While at MGA, Cravey also participated in experiential learning opportunities, conducted action research and presented at the Future Georgia Educators Conference and the Georgia Council for Teachers of Mathematics Conference. After graduation, Cravey is moving to Brunswick and St. Simons Island to continue her teaching career at Waynesville Primary School. She plans to pursue master’s and specialist’s degrees in education and obtain an ESOL endorsement. Cravey wants to continue broadening her knowledge in the field of education so she can “better serve my students and other educators.”

The alumni speaker at all three ceremonies will be the Honorable Edward D. Lukemire, chief judge of the Superior Court of Houston Judicial Circuit.

For the past 35 years, Lukemire has devoted his life to public service in the courtroom and in the community. A 1974 Dean’s Scholar graduate of Macon Junior College (now Middle Georgia State University), Lukemire enrolled at Mercer University where he completed a bachelor's degree in 1976. He earned a law degree from Mercer’s School of Law four years later. Lukemire started his law career in 1980 serving as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. After two years, he was the assistant district attorney with the Houston Judicial Circuit.

In 1987, he became the assistant United States attorney with the Federal Drug Task Force for the Middle District of Georgia. After his service with the United States attorney’s office, Lukemire returned to Houston County in 1988 to serve as district attorney for the Houston Judicial Circuit. Since 1996, he has served as the judge of the Superior Court of Houston Judicial Circuit and has presided over many important cases in middle Georgia. Most recently, he also served as administrative judge for the 3rd Judicial District. Lukemire is Middle Georgia State University’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2018. The award is given by the University’s Foundation to selected alumni who have distinguished themselves academically, professionally, or through community involvement and have achieved positions of influence and regional or national reputation.

Over the years, Lukemire has been a member of numerous committees devoted to strengthening Georgia's families by preventing abuse and speaking up for those who could not do so for themselves. These memberships include the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Substance Abuse and the Courts, Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel, and the Judicial Council Committee on Domestic Violence. Lukemire’s publications include articles that have appeared in the Georgia and Eleventh Circuit Surveys of the "Mercer Law Review" and in the "Journal of Southern Legal History."

For those planning to attend any of MGA's graduation ceremonies:

• Graduates should park in the east parking lot in front of the Student Life Center.

• Guests will be required to have tickets to attend the graduation ceremony. Graduates will each receive five guest tickets for their ceremony. The availability of additional tickets is limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Beginning Wednesday, April 24, graduates may pick up their five guest tickets and a maximum of two additional tickets (no guaranteed availability) in person on the Macon and Cochran campuses.

• On the Macon Campus, pick up tickets in the lobby of the Student Life Center on April 24 and 25. From April 26 through April 30, pick up tickets in the Registrar’s office on the second floor of the Student Life Center. On the Cochran Campus, pick up tickets in the Registrar's office in Grace Hall from April 24 through April 30.

• Graduates and their guests are encouraged to use the checklist provided while planning for commencement.

• All three ceremonies will be live streamed.