A Look Back, a Step Forward

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It’s the largest of its kind for the Florida State, Panama City campus. Everyone was so excited to enter the packed auditorium at the Marina Civic Center for the ceremony and leave with a hard-earned diploma.

Most of the students who now have a diploma of their own first attended a community college in the Panhandle before transferring to FSU-Panama City. Sixty-two percent of the students Sunday earned an associated degree at Gulf Coast before crossing the street to FSU-PC.

Sandra Pugh graduated with her Masters of Science in Communication and is actually ready to get back to the classroom and teach.

"Fantastic, ultimately, I feel great. It feels really awesome to finally have completed my goals and done what I meant to do and set out to do, so it feels awesome," says Sandra.

Vickie Gainer, the director of campus communication, was one of the students Sunday gladly accepting her Masters Degree in Communication.

"It's an experience that most people don't have the opportunity to do and have a university right here in your own backyard, I think it's wonderful."

Ed Wright, the dean of the FSU campus, instructed the students one last time with
some words of advice before setting them free.

Lt. General John H. Campbell was the keynote speaker at Sunday’s ceremony. Campbell is the former commander of the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base and associate director of the CIA.

The focus for Sunday offered the students to take a step into an unknown direction; it's ok to try something new even if you think you might not like the task, but it's still worth trying and this is just what each student did to receive the diploma now in their possession.