Commencement exercises to spotlight graduates
May 13, 2015
Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess
Dr. George Baker Jr.
LaGrange College will award more than 240 diplomas during commencement exercises
at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on the Residential Quad.
, community leader and humanitarian, and retired
Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess
, former national intelligence officer, will deliver brief remarks during the
college’s 184th graduation ceremonies.
Wolfe, a native of LaGrange, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management
at Georgia Institute of Technology, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management
Program of Harvard Business School. After retiring from his business career, he
helped form DASH for LaGrange, a housing initiative that provides dependable, affordable,
For eight years, he was chairman of Troup County Commission, and has served LaGrange
College on its Leadership Council and Board of Trustees.
Burgess is a native of Jacksonville, N.C., and graduated from Opelika (Ala.) High
School in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Auburn
University in 1974, a master’s in education from the University of Southern California
in 1980 and a Master of Military Arts and Science degree from the U.S. Army Command
and General Staff College in 1986.
Burgess held many key regional and national staff and command positions during
his 38-year military career. His final assignment was as Director of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, the nation's highest-ranking military intelligence officer.
Burgess is senior counsel for national security programs, cyber programs and military
affairs at Auburn University.
Commencement events actually began Thursday night with the annual nurse pinning
ceremony at First United Methodist Church. Today, events will begin with graduation
rehearsal at 9:30 a.m. on the Residential Quadrangle.
That will be followed by the Legacy Reception at 2:30 p.m. in the Bailey Room
in Smith Hall, followed by the Baccalaureate Service at 5 p.m. at First United
Methodist Church. Dr. Brent A. Strawn, professor of Old Testament at Candler School
of Theology at Emory University, is this year’s baccalaureate speaker.
Registrar Cindy Saines said approximately 241 degrees are scheduled to be awarded
Saturday. They include 168 bachelor’s degrees, including 45 in nursing. Graduate
degrees include 31 Education Specialist, 34 Master of Education and eight Master
of Arts in Teaching.
The Class of 2015 includes 36 legatees, students who have a parent, sibling, grandparent,
child or spouse who is an alumnus of LaGrange College.
Saturday morning’s program also will include remarks by President Dan McAlexander;
Cara Thornton, coordinator of the Senior Challenge; Patrick Reynolds, winner of
the Waights G. Henry Jr. Leadership Award; and Dr. George Baker Jr., the Distinguished
Service Alumni Award winner.
Dr. Baker is a native of LaGrange. He graduated from LaGrange High School in 1970,
earned a chemistry degree from LaGrange College in 1974 and a dentistry degree
from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in 1977.
He was a dentist at LaGrange Family Dental Center for 36 years before moving to
Kids Zone Dentistry in LaGrange in 2013.
Dr. Baker is a member of the Georgia Dental Society, National Dental Association
and American Dental Association.
His service to LaGrange College includes two terms on the Board of Trustees, where
he is presently serving a third term. He was recognized as an outstanding alumnus
in 1994, and his daughter Joy Baker is a legacy graduate of LaGrange College.
His community work includes serving on the board of directors at Community Bank
& Trust, as well as holding memberships in Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, 100
Black Men of West Georgia, Sons of LaGrange Lodge No. 537 Free and Accepted Masons
and Warren Temple United Methodist Church.
Dr. Baker is married to Ann J. Baker, and they have three children – LeThenia
Joy Baker, Demetrice Artez Shipman Sr. and Tracy Lynette Maddox. They also have
three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
The Waights G. Henry Jr. Leadership Award, the most prestigious honor given to
a student by LaGrange College, is based on scholarship, service and leadership.
This year’s winner is Patrick Reynolds, an early childhood education major from
He is an Orientation Team mentor and a keynote speaker at new student and family
orientations. He served on several college search committees, and was the only
student selected to help create Leaders Inspired for Tomorrow, a selective leadership
development program for incoming students.
Patrick is a senior resident advisor supervising six RAs in a first-year male
dorm, and was a teaching assistant for an ethics class, leading lectures on diversity
and hazing. A member of the Omicron Nu Leadership Society, he served as a mentor
and resident advisor for the college’s inaugural Foundations Program, a summer
bridge program for students admitted on a conditional basis.
He is the son of Lee and Patricia Reynolds.
Honorary degrees will be awarded to Wolfe and Burgess.
Graduates should be lined up for the procession on the Forrest Avenue sidewalk
in front of Hawkins Hall at 7:45 a.m. The ceremonies also will be broadcast live
in the Dickson Assembly Room.
For more information, including a rain plan in case of inclement weather, visit
Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served at the sound end of