Ava Layne Tillmann, of Cedartown, is among the more than 5,000 candidates for graduation in the Class of 2021 who were celebrated during the University of Mississippi’s 168th commencement exercises April 29 — May 2.

Tillmann, who is a sport and recreation administration major, is a candidate for a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in the School of Applied Sciences.

“This class of graduates is marked by incredible achievements, character and resilience, and it is a great privilege to celebrate them during Commencement,” said UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce. “They have accomplished so much during their years at the university, and the path ahead is bright and filled with endless possibilities.”

Jonathan T.M. Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, delivered the commencement address, which took place May 1 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university.

Berry hosts Phi Kappa Phi induction

Berry College recently hosted a Phi Kappa Phi induction ceremony in the Betty Anne Rouse Bell Recital Hall to honor the inductees of the honor society.

Phi Kappa Phi distinguishes academic excellence in all fields of higher education and promotes community engagement among scholars in service. Phi Kappa Phi is known to be the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.

Among the list of the 2021 inductees are Brandon Bentley of Cedartown, Taylor McVey of Rockmart, and Maggie Blankenship of Cedartown.

Berry College is an independent, coeducational college in Rome recognized nationally for the quality and value of its educational experience.

Bentley among presenters at Piedmont Symposium

More than 350 students participated in the third annual Piedmont University Symposium on April 14. The high-profile event embodies the Piedmont Promise “practical” pillar by providing research opportunities for students.

The symposium is becoming a tradition for the Demorest school and is a celebration of research, creativity, and inquiry. Studies have shown that students who receive these kinds of engaged learning experiences are more resilient, persist in their education, and are nimble learners.

Among the student presenters at this year’s symposium was Madison Bentley of Cedartown.

Topics like how primary teachers feel about virtual learning and the differences in salary, media attention, and amenities based on gender in sports were timely. Others sought answers about the accuracy of wearable devices that track steps, what it takes to make a film from scratch with no money, and “Solving the Dating Problem.”

Participants presented their findings to other students, faculty, and staff at locations across the Demorest campus and in Athens. Most were face-to-face with students answering questions about their respective topics, while other presentations were virtual.

“We have had the symposium in three different formats now,” said Dr. Julia Schmitz, associate professor of biology. “The first was in-person, the second virtual due to COVID, and this year it was a hybrid format to allow for social distancing.”

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