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Caps and gowns are being donned

The Troy State University Campus was deserted Thursday afternoon.

No students hustling from class to class, nobody sitting under a tree and reading and not a single soul in the Trojan Center food court. A huge turtle slowly crawled across the parking lot near the new track - the only sign of life on a campus emptied after final exams and before graduation.

Today, however, should prove to be a different story, as graduating seniors decked out in caps and gowns will mingle with parents, families and visiting dignitaries for the TSU graduation ceremonies.

The commencement ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at Sartain Hall and will be highlighted - in addition to the presentation of approximately 470 diplomas - by a speech from Constantine W. Curris, the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Students from 22 states and 10 foreign nations will receive associate, bachelors and master's degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Communication and Fine Arts and Health and Human Services.

The speech by Curris is

an exciting addition to the day's events, said Chancellor Jack Hawkins.

"Dr. Curris is providing outstanding leadership for more than 400 public colleges and universities across the nation," Hawkins said. "We are pleased to have him in Troy and I know he will deliver a meaningful address to our graduates."

Sharon Toney Wilcox is going to take part in the ceremonies and looks forward to getting her hands on the diploma showing her B.A. degree in nursing.

"I'm very excited," she said, referring to the degree that she has been working towards since 1992 - although not continuously.

"I really want to stay in Troy," said the Charles Henderson High School graduate. "I was raised here and I'd like to practice nursing here and give something back to the community."

Graduation and a TSU degree may also open doors to providing medical care for prisoners, she said.

Amanda Henderson, another nursing graduate, said the spring ceremonies represent the culmination of four and a half years of work. Also a Troy native, Henderson said she expected the ceremonies to be packed with family and friends excited to share in the moment.

She said she is looking to work at either Edge or Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery during the coming year. But like many graduates, she isn't 100 percent certain where future roads will take her.

"I've got a lot of options, but I'm just not sure."