By GORDON JACKSON firstname.lastname@example.org
KINGSLAND — Valdosta State University fills an important niche for people in Camden County who are taking college classes and holding down a full-time job at the same time.
The university offers classes in Kingsland that compress a semester into eight weeks. The shorter semester length is attractive to students such as sailors at nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, who are assigned to new duty stations with sometimes little notice or deployed several times a year for a 70-day patrol.
Fourteen of those students will graduate at 3 p.m. on June 2 in a ceremony at College of Coastal Georgia's campus in Kingsland, where VSU's classes in Camden County are located.
Leo Melody, director of VSU's Camden Center, said some of his students also take classes at College of Coastal Georgia.
"We do have some students who have a transient relationship (with both schools)," he said. "Our main demographic is the working individual. It has certainly worked for our students, especially the military ones."
Melody said there are currently about 100 students taking VSU classes at the Camden campus.
The keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony is Reynaldo L. Martinzez Jr., head of the university's Department of Adult and Career Education. Brian L. Gerber, the university's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, will hand out degrees and congratulate each of the graduates.
"Graduation is a defining moment in every student's life," said Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. "These students have had to overcome any number of challenges to reach this point in their life's journey. It is that very perseverance that protects and nurtures Blazer Nation's 100-plus-year-old tradition of academic, creative, athletic, research and service excellence. We are excited to celebrate not an ending but the beginning of many great things to come."