Next spring, as graduation approaches, the Terry College of Business will hold a new ceremony to recognize all the graduates who are receiving business degrees this year.
The Terry Graduation Convocation will be held in Stegeman Coliseum one week before the University of Georgia's spring commencement ceremony. The inaugural convocation is set for Saturday, May 1, at 1 p.m., with a reception immediately following at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, across the street from the coliseum.
"Starting this new tradition accomplishes several things," said Robert T. Sumichrast, dean of the Terry College. "Most importantly, for our students and their families, we are adding a special occasion when each graduate will be individually recognized by name, walk across the stage, and capture a memory that they'll never forget.
"I'm also pleased that every Terry degree program will be represented — from bachelor's to doctoral," he said. "A graduation event like this will ultimately benefit Terry as we create new ways to connect alumni with each other and back to their alma mater. In effect, this convocation will be each graduating class's first alumni event."
Degrees still will be officially conferred at UGA's commencement on the Saturday after final exams end. UGA's spring commencement is set for May 8.
Sumichrast announced that the speaker for the Terry Graduation Convocation will be Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos, a 1973 graduate of the Terry College's risk management program.
Amos joined Aflac after graduation and worked in the sales area for 10 years. He was named president of Aflac in 1983, chief operating officer in 1987, CEO of Aflac Inc. in 1990, and chairman in 2001.
A Fortune 500 company, Aflac insures more than 40 million people worldwide. It is the leading provider of individual insurance policies offered at the worksite in the United States and is the largest life insurer in Japan in terms of individual policies in force.
During his tenure as CEO, revenues have grown from $2.7 billion to $16.6 billion, as of Dec. 31, 2008. Amos also is responsible for launching the company's national advertising program that features the popular Aflac Duck.
Because of the ad campaign's success, Aflac is regarded as a top national brand. Fortune magazine named it one of "America's Most Admired Companies" for the eighth year in 2009, including No. 1 worldwide in the Health and Life Insurance category. Aflac also made Fortune's list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" for the 11th consecutive year, at No. 26.
Amos has received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Award and the Anti-Defamation League's Torch of Liberty Award. He was named America's Best CEO for the insurance/life category in 2009 by Institutional Investor magazine, the fourth time he has appeared on the prestigious list. Aflac also has been named to the Ethisphere Institute's annual list of World's Most Ethical Companies for three consecutive years.
Amos is a member of the board of directors of Synovus and of the board of trustees of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and House of Mercy of Columbus. He is a former chairman of the University of Georgia Foundation and previously served as a member of the Consumer Affairs Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Because the graduation convocation is a first-time event scheduled for spring, all Terry graduates from December 2009, as well as degree candidates for spring 2010 and summer 2010, are invited to participate in the ceremony. Graduates can invite as many guests to attend the ceremony as they like. More detailed information will be added to the convocation website as the date draws closer.