Professional Master's Graduates Make History with First-Ever Virtual Commencement

Georgia Tech Professional Education honors newest graduates amid the coronavirus pandemic

August 04, 2020 | By GTPE Communications
Graduation caps at the master's in applied systems engineering graduation

On July 31, 2020, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) hosted its first-ever virtual commencement ceremony for its Professional Master’s graduates, recognizing 63 graduates from three professional master’s programs: applied systems engineering, manufacturing leadership, and occupational safety and health.

Streamed live through a video conferencing platform, the celebration began with ceremonial music and photo footage of all the graduates alongside their family and friends.

As loved ones posted comments congratulating the graduates, Jennifer Wooley, director of academic programs, introduced the commencement ceremony, acknowledging the momentous day and significant life events that the graduates achieved while working full-time jobs and earning their master's degrees.

"As you reflect on your time as one of our professional master's degree graduates, I hope you’ll not only remember this as a professionally rewarding experience, but a culture that seeks – and encourages – the best in people, Wooley said. "It's been an honor to get to know you and see you grow."

After Wooley's introduction, Nelson Baker, Ph.D., dean of professional education, offered a few special remarks.

"For over one hundred and thirty years, Georgia Tech has been educating some of the best minds. You are no exception," Baker said. "A Tech degree — and especially a professional master's degree — makes a statement. It says something about the kind of professional and person you are. It says that you know how to get results. It says that you are not just a problem solver, but a creative problem solver. "

Recorded congratulatory messages from faculty were played, along with commencement speeches from each of the program's executive directors.

Dimitri Mavris, Ph.D., executive director of the Professional Master's in Applied Systems Engineering (PMASE) program, expressed immense pride for the growth and perseverance the graduates have shown over the past two years, and during the last few challenging months.

"I continue to be impressed with the quality, commitment, and drive of those enrolled in the PMASE program. It is no small feat to go through a two-year graduate program while being a working professional," he emphasized. "You all brought with you experiences and perspectives and the desire to get the most out of the program. And we hope that through the course work, instruction, group interactions, and capstone projects, you received the skills and knowledge you need to advance in your career. "

Daniel Castro, Ph.D., executive director of the Professional Master's in Occupational Safety and Health (PMOSH) program, admired the graduates' commitment to overcome unforeseen obstacles.

"It is admirable to see that while you were facing challenges in your own lives that also touched your families, I can attest that you also cared for workers in your organizations; you cared with professionalism, persistence, and passion, and that made a huge difference in them. I feel personally fortunate to have guided, alongside other PMOSH faculty and staff, your education at Georgia Tech."

Finally, Laurence Jacobs, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Engineering, speaking on behalf of the Professional Master's in Manufacturing Leadership (PMML) program, reminded the graduates to harness the talent and collaboration within their organizations and teams.

"You’ve acquired the engineering expertise that Georgia Tech is known for, as well as executive leadership training, and a mini-MBA customized to your role. You now have the perfect blend of skills to guide your employees, leadership teams, and the entire manufacturing industry. "

Photos of the graduates, along with a quote and the degree they received, were then shown on the screen and Nisha Botchwey, associate dean for academic programs, read each of the graduate's names aloud.

As the virtual commencement concluded, the graduates joined their fellow colleagues in breakout rooms to cheers their impressive milestone and individual successes.

Congratulations to the newest 63 graduates of Georgia Tech’s professional master’s programs!