Photo Gallery: Graduation Scenes 2013

By NEMS Daily Journal

Congratulations to all of today’s graduates. Today’s ceremonies include Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Mississippi University for Women, Blue Mountain College, Southern Mississippi and Itawamba Community College. Read more about these graduations and see more photos in Sunday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.

Stadium architect speaks at MSU, her alma mater

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — An internationally known architect of baseball stadiums, Janet Marie Smith, told graduates of Mississippi State University that hard work, passionate conviction and unwavering courage are skills that will help them succeed.

Smith spoke during commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday in Starkville. She told graduates they don’t have to conquer the world to contribute to humanity; they just need to find something they love to do.

Smith earned her architecture degree at MSU in 1981 and her master’s in urban planning from City College of New York.

She has designed stadiums for the Atlanta Braves, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. She is currently senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Evers-Williams at Ole Miss: ‘Soar, and be free’

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams has told graduates at the University of Mississippi to “soar, and be free.”

She spoke Saturday during a commencement ceremony on the university’s main campus in Oxford.

Evers-Williams told graduates to work not only for themselves but also for the betterment of Mississippi and all mankind.

She was presented with the University of Mississippi Humanitarian Award. This was only the third time the award has been given.

Evers-Williams’ first husband, Medgar Evers, was denied admission to the University of Mississippi law school in 1954, when the state’s education system was still segregated. He worked as field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP and was assassinated outside the family’s Jackson home in June 1963.

Evers-Williams was national chairwoman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998.

Bryant to USM grads: ‘rise up and do great things’

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant told graduates at his alma mater that he wants them to “rise up and do great things.”

Bryant spoke Friday during two commencement ceremonies at the University of Southern Mississippi’s main campus in Hattiesburg.

The Republican has been governor since January 2012. He is a 1977 graduate of USM, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Bryant said Mississippi has overcome great adversity, from the Civil War through Hurricane Katrina and even through the F-4 tornado that caused damage in Hattiesburg and the surrounding area in February.

“We could have stayed down, but we decided to get up,” Bryant said of the state. “Graduates, rise up and do great things.”

USM researchers have helped attract industry to the state, the governor said. GE Aviation recently opened a manufacturing plant in Ellisville, and polymer science research developments from USM will be used in items produced by the company.

He urged the graduates to stay in Mississippi and use their talents and skills to help the state make progress.

“Grow where you have been planted. Mississippi needs you,” Bryant said. “Each year, we lose a third of our best and brightest as you go to some other state to find your fame and fortune. But opportunity is here.”

Before being elected governor, Bryant served as lieutenant governor, state auditor and state representative from a district at the Ross Barnett Reservoir outside Jackson. He started his career as a Hinds County deputy sheriff.

Stories from The Associated Press.

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