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Warnell honors fall 2021 graduates

Ben Carr (BSFR ’21) speaks during the fall convocation ceremony.

Warnell celebrated its first in-person convocation event in two years on Friday, as dozens of students walked across the stage to receive recognition of their degrees.

The last time the school hosted an in-person convocation event was in the fall of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought campus to a halt the following spring semester. Thirty-six undergraduate students and 25 graduate students were honored as fall graduates. The event also honored 18 graduate students who completed their degree requirements over the summer. The convocation ceremony took place at The Classic Center in Athens, with several hundreds family and friends in attendance.

"Students, today you join a long line of successful alumni from all our disciplines as a graduate of this program," said Dean Dale Greene during his opening remarks. "That line started to form in 1906, and today you're joining a pretty exclusive group of people that includes agency heads, corporate executives, and successful owners of a wide range of businesses."

This fall's crop of graduates similarly noted a range of professional opportunities that awaited them after receiving their degree, including studying wildlife in the North Georgia mountains, snakes in South Georgia or polar bears in Alaska. Several graduates were pursuing opportunities to work in state parks and privately run recreational outfitters. Other graduates planned to enter graduate school at Warnell or elsewhere—or complete a bucket list item, such as hiking the Appalachian Trail.

In addition to a short speech by Greene, graduates also heard remarks from alumnus Patrick O'Rouke (BSFR ’04), recipient of one of Warnell's Distinguished Young Alumni awards for 2021; faculty representative Pete Bettinger, who was honored earlier this year with a national teaching award from the U.S.D.A.; and student representative Ben Carr, a wildlife sciences graduate.

"I know it sounds cliche, but Warnell is truly a family," said Carr. "It’s been an honor and a privilege to do life with everyone day in and day out. From late night study sessions in the lab to debates in the lounge to the truly unforgettable road trips, it’s hard to recount all the wonderful memories we’ve made. I would not be the person I am today without my time here with all of you - and for that I am forever grateful."

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