0

Albany Tech conducts fall graduation exercise

Keynote speaker Cynthia George urged graduates to pursue passion in their lives

Artesian Consulting owner and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Cynthia George was the keynote speaker at Albany Technical College’s Fall 2013 Commencement Exercise Thursday night at the Albany Civic Center. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Artesian Consulting owner and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Cynthia George was the keynote speaker at Albany Technical College’s Fall 2013 Commencement Exercise Thursday night at the Albany Civic Center. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — Albany Technical College held its fall commencement exercises Thursday at the Albany Civic Center with more than 170 graduates receiving associate degrees and more than 500 diplomas; and nearly 300 technical certificates of credit were awarded.

In addition, more than 130 graduates received their General Education Diplomas (GED). Almost 100 students graduated with honors with such recognitions as highest scores on the GED; Presidential Scholar; Honors with Distinction; National Technical Honor Society; Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL); Student Government Association; Phi Beta Lambda; and Skills USA.

Keynote speaker Cynthia C. George, the current Chair of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, urged the newly-minted graduates to pursue passion in their lives and in their careers.

“When I agreed to be your speaker I searched Google and YouTube looking for inspiration,” George said. “I wondered ‘what do graduates want to hear?’ Then I decided maybe I’ll talk about what I have learned about life over the years. So let’s talk about passion. I have been blessed with wonderful jobs. but it took eight years to find something I had a passion for. I came to know what motivated and inspired me.”

George then advised the gathering to seek passion.

“Passion energizes you, it fuels your life,” George said. “Passion doesn’t come with a piece of paper, it comes from hard work and doing something you love. I have known people who have worked all of their lives and never found passion in what they do — don’t let that happen to you.

“Passion makes you exude confidence. Passion is contagious and makes others want to join you. It makes you more creative, and when you love what you do it lifts your burdens. You know people with passion, it shows in everything they do.”

Currently, George is the owner of a public affairs and public relations consulting business, Artesian Consulting, LLC, located in Albany, and is the co-founder of Strive2Thrive, an anti-poverty initiative. Strive2Thrive is her passion.

“Strive2Thrive gave meaning to my life,” she said. “As I look out upon you I see several familiar faces. Those faces would not be sitting here tonight if it were not for Strive2Thrive. It is my passion.”

George then urged the graduates to remain in the community and become assets to the region.

“I was pleased when (ATC President Anthony Parker) told me that the majority of Albany Tech graduates remain within 20 miles of Albany,” George said. “I was thrilled that young, educated people such as you want to stay in our community. As the Chamber chair I want you to to be passionate about your community.”