Full House, Special Recognitions Set For Graduation May 15

Almost 500 students will graduate at the end of the Spring 2004 semester from Columbus State University, and close to 400 of those graduates are expected to attend commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday May 15 in CSU's Lumpkin Center. CSU President Frank Brown will deliver this year's commencement address. Also during the ceremony, he will confer an honorary doctorate on Dr. Delmar Edwards, a local physician and community leader who many believe was a pivotal factor in building a professional class of African-Americans in Columbus.

'Dr. Edwards is acknowledged to be one of the most respected African-American leaders in our community and, indeed, his influence reaches across all segment of Columbus,' Brown said in his request for the honorary degree to the Board of Regents. 'Dr. Delmar Edwards casts a large shadow, and the work he has done to build this community cannot be overstated.'

Edwards succeeded with the help of community mentors when he came to Columbus and began to practice medicine in the early 1950s. He has taken very seriously his responsibility to pass that mentoring on to others, and he has guided young people over many years. The current Columbus State University Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Emory Alexander, a local orthopedic surgeon, is one of the products of Edwards' mentoring. Alexander is quick to point out the invaluable relationship he and Edwards have shared through the years and he gives Edwards much credit for his standing as a physician today.

Edwards was the first African-American member of the Columbus Rotary Club, a longtime member of the Columbus State University Foundation Board, a member of the Board of Directors of AFLAC, Inc., and a guiding force in civic, religious and community activities. CSU will honor Edwards' career as a businessman, community leader and supporter of the university with the conferring of the Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Also during commencement, CSU will grant posthumous degrees to two students who died last year. Gerald C. Bedford, the captain of CSU's basketball team when he collapsed suddenly during a basketball practice in December, will be awarded a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. Bethany Fuentes, who died in a fall at an Atlanta hotel last year, will be awarded a science associate's degree in criminal justice.

Once again, university officials are expecting a capacity crowd for the ceremony. Each graduate has been sent 10 tickets and seating for those with tickets will begin at 8:30 a.m. As long as there is space available in the center, those without tickets will be admitted at 9:45 a.m. Shuttles will be available to transport guests from all campus parking lots to the Lumpkin Center.

For more information, and to view the graduation live during a Webcast of the ceremony, go to http://graduation.colstate.edu