Florida Southern College to Hold Winter Commencements on Dec. 14

LAKELAND (Dec. 11, 2019) – Florida Southern’s mid-year commencement program will feature two ceremonies in Branscomb Auditorium on December 14, with the undergraduate ceremony to begin at 10:30 a.m. and a ceremony for the graduate programs at 2:30 p.m.

A number of FSC’s winter 2019 graduates already have been making an impact on society through internships and research projects, with some intending to pursue further academic studies in elite master’s and Ph.D. programs and others beginning important careers in the areas of health care, business, performance, the sciences, and education.

English major Karly Smyth of Lake Worth is among FSC’s graduating seniors who have made inspiring contributions, spending her past three semesters as an intern at PACE Center for Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young, at-risk women in Polk County. Smyth worked on grants that helped to raise more than $250,000 in funding for PACE, and she plans to pursue a career as a grant writer.

Todd M. Hall, M.D., one of the nation’s leading emergency orthopedic and trauma surgeons who practices at Lakeland Regional Health, will receive his Master of Business Administration degree in the afternoon ceremony. In total, Florida Southern will confer 160 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

At the morning commencement, Dr. Anne Kerr will award the President’s Scholar medal to a graduating senior whose academic standing is in the top 1 percent, who exemplifies the values of the College, and who has demonstrated a commitment to scholarship, leadership, and service.

The keynote speaker for both ceremonies will be FSC’s Bishop-in-Residence Robert E. Fannin. Following his graduation from Florida Southern College in 1958, he began his career as a salesman for Burroughs Computers before he answered a call to the ministry. He attended the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University, earning his master’s and doctoral degrees. Joining the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, he served congregations throughout Florida, including Lakeland’s First United Methodist Church as well as serving as the Miami District superintendent.

Upon his election to the Episcopacy in 1992, he was assigned to the Birmingham Area Conference where he served with distinction for 12 years. Bishop Fannin’s years of dedicated Christian service include membership on the boards of trustees of Emory University, Birmingham-Southern College, Bethune-Cookman College, and Huntingdon College. Bishop Fannin currently serves on the Florida Southern College Board of Trustees.

As part of the undergraduate ceremony, FSC will confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Richard T. Fulton, a 1970 grad from Orlando, whose highly distinguished legal career spans four decades and includes 12 years as legal services partner with the nationally renowned law firm Baker and Hostetler, where he directed the firm’s national network of practice groups and industry teams, comprised of more than 600 attorneys, and provided highly valued counsel to industry leader clients in countless businesses and real estate. Mr. Fulton is held in highest esteem by his professional peers and has been recognized nationally, including his selection by Florida Trend among its “legal elites,” and inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; and is included in The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.