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FSU PC commencement honors graduates, celebrates milestones

Becky Kelly

Florida State University Panama City will honor graduates, including the youngest graduate in campus history, at a commencement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Edgewater Beach Resort Conference Center in Panama City Beach. FSU Provost Sally McRorie and FSU Panama City Dean Randy Hanna will preside.

Marcus Thomas, the youngest graduate from the campus, is earning his bachelor’s degree from the online computer science program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Thomas, 16, took classes online because his age prohibited him from living in a college dorm if he moved away from his Powell, Wyoming, home.

Thomas first started college at age 12 as a non-degree seeking student at Fayetteville State University. He then went on to earn three associate’s degrees before beginning his bachelor’s degree. He chose Florida State’s online computer science program, which is administered from the Panama City campus, because of its reputation. The program is the oldest continuing online program at FSU.

“I don’t give my relative youthfulness much attention; I consider myself just another university student,” Thomas said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn computer science on such a level.”

In all, FSU Panama City is honoring 332 graduates for the 2018-2019 academic year, including 23 military veterans who will be wearing the official FSU Student Veteran Honor Cords in recognition of their service and sacrifice.

This year’s commencement also marks the retirement of longtime faculty, Sandra Halvorson, Ph.D., professor of communication; John Crossley, Ph.D., professor of recreation, tourism and events; Chris Lacher, Ph.D., professor of computer science; and Steve Leach, Ph.D., professor of computer science.