Graduates Make Families, City Proud - Clark and Spelman Students Fulfill Academic Potential

By Tianna Faulker Special for the Atlanta Voice & By Titus Falodun Contributing Writer | 5/24/2013, 12:39 p.m.
Spelman graduates with diplomas. (Photo by Julie Yarbrough for Spelman College).

Over 500 graduates were granted Bachelor’s Degrees in Arts and Sciences from Spelman College at the Georgia International Conventional Center during its 126th Commencement ceremony. Congratulations and encouragements were shared gleefully as the Class of 2013 now embarks on a new chapter in their lives.

“This is a long awaited day for you our graduates,” said Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph. D. “We are all filled with pride.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States, delivered the Commencement address and shared sincere congratulations from President Barack Obama. Her key message to the graduates was that Spelman women can change the world.

“I am honored to be here to be a part of your special day,” said Dr. Benjamin. “Spelman has empowered you and educated you to take your place in the world and to create positive social change, which I know that you will.”

In addition to delivering the keynote speech, Dr. Benjamin was given an Honorary Degree.

Co-Valedictorians Kristie and Kirstie Bronner, twin daughters of the mega-church pastor Dale Bronner, told graduates to embrace their fears in order to achieve their goals and they gave God all the credit for becoming Spelman’s first ever co-valedictorians.

“In order to accomplish anything of significance, you have to embrace the propeller, i.e. your fears,” said Kristie Bronner.

Houston-based dentist Dr. Laurena Moore Powell’s daughter, Lauren Raglen, graduated also.

“I’ve seen my daughter evolve into a young woman who is ready for the world,” she said. “Every parent’s dream is that we want to know that they are prepared. Spelman has prepared their young ladies to seek out, search, and find employment and they are doing it all over the world.”

Tatum said by getting their degrees, the graduates continue in the legacy of the former leaders of Spelman College.

Drama major and Spelman graduate Arielle McGill said, “It feels great to graduate!”

“I’m excited,” McGill said. “The education here gives you the confidence to follow your dreams. Future Spelmanites get ready!”