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Cobb Chamber leader to address SPSU’s largest graduating class

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Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) will award an estimated 490 degrees to 384 undergraduate and 106 graduate students during the spring 2012 commencement ceremonies on Sat., May 12.

This is the largest graduating class in the university’s history, and it includes the first graduates of SPSU’s evening engineering programs in civil and electrical engineering and the first female SPSU student to receive a degree in civil engineering. The Class of May 2012 represents 18 states and 34 countries.

Cobb Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Connell will address the graduates at twin ceremonies scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the gymnasium. University officials will confer degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering Technology and Management during the morning program and degrees from the School of Architecture and Construction Management, School of Computing and Software Engineering, and School of Engineering in the afternoon.

Connell joined the Cobb Chamber – the seventh largest chamber in the southeastern United States – in November 2010. He is focused on strengthening the economy and quality of life for Cobb County’s 70,000-plus citizens and 45,000-plus businesses.

Previously Connell served as the regional executive for Georgia Power’s Metro West Region. He has been associated with the Southern Company and its subsidiaries for 40 years – in addition to Georgia Power, he has held senior positions at Alabama Power, Southern Company and Southern Company Services.

Connell has received numerous awards for his civic involvement, including the East Cobb Citizen of the Year (2004), the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver Award for volunteering (2005), the NAACP’s Presidential Award (2006 and 2008), the Secretary of State’s Outstanding Georgia Citizen (2006) and the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award (2008). This year Connell was named one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians.

Born and raised in Nashville, Ga., Connell earned an engineering degree from Auburn University and advanced business degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and Harvard University.

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