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Interim Dean Charles Knapp poses with Charles Barham, who has waited nearly 50 years to participate in the convocation ceremony.

At the height of the Vietnam War, in 1967, a sworn duty to the U.S. Navy prevented Terry marketing major Charles Barham from attending his graduation ceremony.

On May 9, 2014, after waiting for nearly 50 years, Barham returned to campus to finish the walk he started when he first strolled by the Arch. With his wife, Sandie, watching from the seats in Stegeman Coliseum, Lt. Barham marched across the floor to a standing ovation.

“I was the only one in my family to ever go to college and complete college, but it’s just like I went to class one day, then left and never went back,” Barham told the Athens Banner-Herald. “I am humbled to do it. I feel like I’m representing all the veterans, the MIAs. I’m getting to honor them.” Barham joined members of the Class of 2014 at the graduation convocation, the fourth in Terry’s history.

The keynote address was delivered by Kessel Stelling (BBA ’78), president and CEO of Synovous. “Remember to think big. Don’t be limited by what you can only see in front of you. Dream big and you’ll accomplish big things. Remember that working hard and persevering are not optional, but are required for success in life after UGA,” Stelling said. “Selfless service to others will lead to greater fulfillment in life than any job you can ever do. Money is good and certainly necessary. I’m sure that motivated some of you to attend business school. But if all you do is work and keep for yourself more than you offer to others, then you will have missed your moment to leave a lasting mark on the world and the generations that follow.”