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USM Gulf Coast graduates ready for real world challenges

Published: May. 14, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A big celebration needs a good preshow.

That’s what you get at a USM Gulf Coast graduation.

“Commencement is always a big thing for any university, especially for us on the Gulf Coast at the University of Southern Mississippi,” said Dr. Jacob Breland, VP Academic Affairs Gulf Coast Operations.

Students receiving their degrees at the spring commencement Saturday say you also get good training to handle a tough world.

“The challenges of the world...we have new ones this year, last year and new ones in the future,” Breland said. “And so, we’re really hear to try to help them, meet them where they are and look to tomorrow and build the skill sets and opportunities and experiences.”

Among those students is Gregg Sansone, who is getting his Ph.D. in human capital development.

He said he understands the risks facing future employees, but he adds that any challenge can be overcome with the right attitude and game plan.

“It’s credentials, it’s going to school and continuing to invest in yourself and focusing on what you can do around the market that’s going to continue to make you effective,” he said. “My father used to always tell me, ‘The best carpenter will always find a job. The best person will always have a job.’ And I do believe that strongly.”

Abigayle Laborde, who is receiving bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in psychology, said she is uniquely qualified her for what’s ahead.

“I feel prepared. I feel like in our classes we’ve taken for social work, especially, we have learned how to adapt as we go through life,” she said. “We’ve learned how to help others adapt.”

Amelia Sullivan, who is receiving her degree in English is licensure to teach, is also well prepared.

“I think that this class of educators that’s graduating has a unique perspective on especially remote learning,” she said, “because we’ve gotten to experience this as students. We’ve gotten to experience the shift into remote learning and into what it means to be a student in the pandemic.”

Laborde can’t wait for the challenge.

“I’m ready to make a difference and change the world.”

The graduation had 225 students receiving their degrees at the ceremony at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

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