Local students graduate from Troy

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By Staff
from staff reports
Three Escambia County residents graduated from Troy University Friday.
Kelly Lowery Mitchell  of Brewton and Jacob Matthew Bonds of Flomaton each received a bachelor of science degree. Bonds graduated cum laude.
Whitney Nissan Poindexter of Brewton graduated with a master of science degree.
The former leader of Alabama’s community college system told graduates during commencement that they were the “glimmer of hope” during down economic times.
Bradley Byrne, a candidate for governor who was chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education from 2007 until May 2009, spoke at summer commencement exercises in Sartain Hall on the Troy University campus. Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor, presented diplomas to more than 240 graduates from 12 U.S. states and 12 nations.
Byrne said that even though the state, nation and world faces economic challenges, graduates of Alabama’s universities provide the best hope for recovery.
Byrne, who served as a member of the Alabama Senate and the State Board of Education, said there are many reasons for optimism in Alabama, such as the high-tech advances in the human genome project in Huntsville, the stable auto manufacturing industry in central Alabama and the resurgence in shipbuilding and the steel business in Mobile.
Byrne was appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education in May 2007 as Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to serve as the two-year college system’s chief executive officer. He announced his resignation from the Chancellor’s position in May.
A native of Mobile, he practiced law for more than 25 years. In 1994, he was elected to the Alabama State Board of Education, serving two terms before being elected to the State Senate representing District 32. During his two terms in the Senate, Byrne served on the Education Committee, the Education Budget Committee, the Judiciary Committee and chaired the Joint Oversight Committee on State Parks.