FAU Celebrates Fall 2023 Graduates

Kerry Sanders, former senior news correspondent for NBC News, receives the FAU Presidential Medallion from President Stacy Volnick.

Kerry Sanders, former senior news correspondent for NBC News, receives the FAU Presidential Medallion from President Stacy Volnick. (Photo by Alex Dolce)

By jonathan fraysure | 12/15/2023

Florida Atlantic University conferred more than 2,700 degrees for the fall semester, during five in-person commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium. The new graduates joined more than 204,000 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the University opened its doors in 1964.

“We are delighted to celebrate our fall graduates, and I am confident in their continued success as alumni,” said FAU President Stacy Volnick. “Wherever their paths may lead, Florida Atlantic will be proud to support their endeavors. Congratulations, Class of 2023!”

The Friday, Dec. 15 commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. also honored Kerry Sanders, former senior news correspondent for NBC News, with the presidential medallion.

Sanders spent 32 years of his iconic career at NBC News, which included work on the “TODAY” Show, Dateline, NBC Nightly News, The Weather Channel and other NBC digital platforms. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and multiple Emmy awards.

A few of Sanders’ most impactful FAU stories include:

  • The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, when he traveled underwater with researchers from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in the HBOI Johnson Sea Link submersible to get a firsthand account of the oil spill and its impact in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • An in-depth spotlight on the scientific work of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science researchers, who simulated how far a cough could travel, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • And, in his final story about FAU, a special segment with Jeanette Wyneken, Ph.D., on how climate change impacts sea turtle sex ratios. This was the longest national television news segment in university history, at more than eight minutes long.

It is estimated that Sanders’ reporting on FAU has generated more than $400 million worth of media coverage on a global level.

MaryLynn Magar, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, also was honored with the president’s medallion at Friday’s 1 p.m. commencement. Magar represented the 82nd district, including most of Martin County and some parts of Palm Beach County, for four terms (from 2012 to 2020). Her tenure included a two-year appointment as speaker pro tempore of the Florida House of Representatives. She recently was also appointed to the Florida State Board of Education.

Some interesting statistics regarding the fall graduating class include the fact that 61 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50 and 11 are over the age of 60. The oldest graduate is 73, and the youngest is 17. Of the more than 2,700 graduates, 909 are first-generation students, 99 will graduate with a 4.0 GPA, and 65 countries are represented.

The ceremonies can be viewed at http://www.fau.edu/webcast/.