ALBANY – Albany Technical College will hold fall 2019 commencement exercises on Thursday at the Albany Civic Center starting at 7 p.m.
More than 160 students are set to receive associates degrees at Thursday night’s graduation. Also, more than 240 diplomas and 535 technical certificates of credit will be awarded. Fourteen students are slated to receive their General Education Development (GED), and 43 students will be recipients of various honors. These honors will include American Criminal Justice Association Club, ambassadors, Engineering Club (E-Club), honors with distinction, National Technical Honors Society, Phi Beta Lambda, presidential scholar, SkillsUSA, Student Fellowship for Christians and Student Government Association. These students were honored at the college’s Honors Day program held earlier this week.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso Jr., the chairman and a director of Atlantic Capital Bancshares Inc. and Atlantic Capital Bank in Atlanta, a position he has held since the company’s founding in October 2006. He served as the financial group’s executive chairman from October 2006 to June 2013 and has served as the non-executive chairman since June 2013. Atlantic Capital Bank opened in May 2007 with capital assets of more than $125 million, the most substantial capital raise for a de novo bank in U.S. history.
Deriso is a graduate of Emory College and Emory University Law School. He is currently an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Emory University, where he has served as a trustee since 2002. He was the chairman of Campaign Emory from 2005-2012, which was successful in raising $1.697 billion, the largest capital campaign in Georgia’s history. In 2013 he received the Emory Medal. In 2017 he was recognized by Emory Law School in its centennial celebration as one of the Emory Law 100.
He practiced law in Albany from 1972 to January 1991, when he left his law practice to become the president and CEO of Security Bank, a Synovus bank, where he served from 1991 to 1997. He served as a director of Security Bank from 1980 until 2006 and served as chairman from 1997-2006. From 1997 to February 2005, Deriso served as vice chairman of Synovus Financial Corp., a diversified financial services company in Columbus. He served as a member of the board of directors of Synovus.
Deriso is a past chairman of the board of the Georgia Bankers Association. He served on the Board of Directors of Post Properties from 2004 through 2016. He was an original board member in 1999 of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and has served as its chairman since 2001. In 2013 he became a member of the board of curators of the Georgia Historical Society and serves as chairman of the board. He is the chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In 2011 he was listed in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 100 Most Influential Atlantans. He was recognized as a Most Admired CEO by Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2017.
Deriso was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Dougherty County in 1987 and served as its president 1988-1989. In 2008 he became a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and served as its president 2015-16. From 2015-2017 he served as vice chairman of the Host Organizing Committee of the Rotary International Convention, which was held in Atlanta in June 2017. He is a Paul Harris Fellow, a Will Watt Fellow, and has received the Service Above Self Award. The Rotary Club of Atlanta recognized him with the Ivan Allen Club Service Award and the Marion Collier Ross Leadership Award for exhibiting the highest moral and ethical leadership.
He is married to the former Judy Holman of Albany. They maintain homes in Albany as well as Atlanta.