Published on 06/02/23

UGA-Griffin celebrates Class of 2023

By Ashley N Biles
UGA Griffin campus Class of 2023
The UGA Griffin campus Class of 2023 gathers with Jeffrey Dean (center), assistant provost and campus director for UGA-Griffin. (Photo by Rick Blackshear)

The University of Georgia Griffin campus held its Spring Graduation Celebration and Brick Ceremony for 21 members of the Class of 2023 on May 10, representing four of the colleges that offer degrees at UGA-Griffin. 

Each graduating student at UGA-Griffin is honored with a lasting mark on campus, a brick featuring their name and class year installed in the walkways around the Student Learning Center. In previous years, graduates’ bricks were placed at the Naomi Chapman Woodroof Pavilion on campus.

Jeffrey Dean, assistant provost and campus director for UGA-Griffin, congratulated the students on their many accomplishments throughout their time on the Griffin campus.

“I am very pleased to recognize your hard work and celebrate your accomplishments of receiving a UGA degree,” said Dean, noting the graduates will join the 650 alumni who preceded them at UGA-Griffin.

Students have received much support from not only their families and friends, but from the UGA Griffin campus community as well, said Dean, who asked the students to join him in celebrating those who helped them get to where they are today, leading to applause erupting from the graduates.   

Following the welcome, Dean introduced the keynote speaker for the ceremony, Randolph Carter, director of diversity and inclusion for UGA’s Office of Institutional Diversity. Carter congratulated the students on their accomplishments, noting that a UGA degree is no small feat..

“I acknowledge this small event is actually nothing small, but the culmination of thousands of hours consuming words on pages and screens. Hundreds of hours of lectures, group work and the occasional memorization of things that would never be manually calculated today or in the foreseeable future,” said Carter. “So today, consider me your long-lost cousin who came to say, I see you. I see the fruits of your labor and I am extremely proud of you.”

Srijana Thapa Magar, who earned a doctorate in horticulture from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was selected by faculty as the student speaker for the event. She shared with her classmates what her time on the Griffin campus has meant to her and how much she values the bonds they’ve created.

“Like all of you, my time at the University of Georgia Griffin campus has been a journey of growth, both academically and personally. Never had I ever dreamt my journey from an absolute introvert, unsure of how I would fit in this new community, to a confident version of myself addressing all of you today. My journey perhaps resonates with most of you and the credit goes to the wonderful community here at the Griffin campus,” said Thapa Magar.

She encouraged her classmates to remember the lessons they learned and the relationships they built during their time at UGA Griffin, noting it is those experiences that have helped each of them become the people they are today.

Thapa Magar closed out her speech thanking her fellow graduates for their inspiration, perseverance, passion and commitment to excellence.

“May we continue to strive for excellence, make meaningful contributions to our communities and embrace the next chapter of our lives with enthusiasm, courage and determination,” she stated. “Each one of us has a bright future ahead. Let us carry the motivation and inspiration we have gained from our experiences at UGA-Griffin and use it to make a positive difference in the world. My fellow graduates, our real journey has just begun. Congratulations, Class of 2023.”

After the ceremony, students and their families attended a reception in their honor.

The following is a list of 2023 UGA-Griffin graduates and their degrees:

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

  • Delia’yah Mitchell, bachelor of science degree in agriculture
  • Jocelyn M. Vega, bachelor of science degree in agriculture
  • Deanna Bigio, master of science degree in horticulture
  • Mahesh Ghimire, master of science degree in entomology
  • Franklin Brennan Jackson, master of science degree in plant protection and pest management
  • Matthew Molini, master of science degree in crop and soil sciences
  • Julianna Morris, master of science degree in food science
  • Isa Maria Alignay Reynoso, master of science degree in food science
  • Dipesh Shrestha, master of science degree in agricultural and applied economics
  • Jiayue Wang, master of science degree in food science
  • Robert Wolverton, doctoral degree in entomology
  • Srijana Thapa Magar, doctoral degree in horticulture

Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

  • Dylan White, bachelor of science degree in microbiology

Mary Frances Early College of Education

  • Clair DePalma, doctoral degree in education
  • Amanda Long, doctoral degree in education
  • Tjazha Mazhani, doctoral degree in education
  • Nicole McConnell, doctoral degree in education
  • LaTisha Mitchell-Johnson, doctoral degree in education
  • Mya Richardson-Echols, doctoral degree in education
  • Michele Perry-Stewart, doctoral degree in education

Terry College of Business

  •  John McWaters, bachelor of business administration degree

To learn more about the student experience at UGA-Griffin, visit

Ashley Biles is an administrative associate at the UGA Griffin campus.