June 5, 2020 - by

Hamilton Named Florida State Commencement Speaker

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Leonard Hamilton, the 2020 ACC Coach of the Year, is the featured speaker at Florida State University’s Virtual Summer Commencement on July 31, 2020. President John Thrasher will preside over the ceremony, which will be streamed on the university’s website, Facebook and YouTube channels and simulcast locally on 4FSU (Comcast Channel 4). The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Hamilton is the Seminoles’ all-time winningest coach and the fifth all-time winningest coach in Atlantic Coast Conference history. He was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the third time as he led the Seminoles to a 26-5 overall record and a 16-4 record in ACC play. Florida State won the ACC regular season championship for the first time in school history and the ACC Championship for the second time in school history.

“I am honored to represent Florida State University at commencement,” said Hamilton. “Graduation is one of the most important days in the lives of every student. It is a time in their lives that they look forward too from their first day on campus. The graduation ceremonies this year have taken on greater meaning because of the COVID-19 pandemic we are all successfully navigating at the current time.”

Hamilton previously delivered the commencement addresses at Chipola College in 2016 and at Gaston College in 2015.

The most successful basketball coach in Florida State history, Hamilton begins his 19th season as Florida State’s Head Coach in the fall of 2020. For Florida State under Hamilton, the academic achievements of his players is a long-standing tradition of classroom success.  During Hamilton’s tenure as a head coach at Florida State, Miami and Oklahoma State dating back to 1988, more than 94 percent of his players have earned their degrees.

Including five of his student-athletes this past year, nearly 96 percent (66 of 69) of his student-athletes at Florida State have earned their degrees. Trent Forrest, who graduated from Florida State in December of 2019, was named the 2020 Men’s Basketball Student Athlete of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Hamilton earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Tennessee-Martin in 1971 and received his master’s degree in Physical and Health Education from Austin Peay State in 1973.

“I’m excited that Coach Hamilton will deliver the commencement address this summer,” Thrasher said. “He and his team had an incredible season with an abrupt ending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a wonderful ambassador for FSU with an unwavering commitment to the university’s academic mission, and I know he’ll have an interesting perspective to share on overcoming adversity.”

The decision to hold a virtual ceremony is in line with a directive from the State University System of Florida to develop alternative commencement plans in recognition of health guidelines that limit gatherings.

Just like the virtual spring commencement ceremony held in May, no graduates or guests will be present to ensure the health and safety of the participants. Graduates and their family members and friends should remain at home and not come to campus.

Graduates’ names will be read aloud by their colleges in separate videos to be posted at commencement.fsu.edu on July 31. Names will briefly appear at the end of the virtual ceremony and can be found in the digital commencement program that will be posted online at commencement.fsu.edu prior to the ceremony.

Florida State will award degrees to 2,631 graduates this semester: 1,769 bachelor’s degrees, 620 master’s degrees, 207 doctorates, 5 juris doctor degrees and 30 juris master’s degrees. These totals include graduates at FSU Panama City and the university’s campus in the Republic of Panama. The university will recognize students who have earned academic honors as well as student-veterans and members of the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society.

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