Oglethorpe University announces commencement speakers

Georgia State Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick, left, Retired Atlanta Federal Reserve President and Chief Executive Officer George C. (Jack) Guynn, right. Images provided to the Tucker Observer

Atlanta, GA – Oglethorpe University will honor the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 during two ceremonies to be held on subsequent days on the historic Brookhaven campus, a press release said. The university will welcome two prominent Atlanta leaders to address the graduates.

Retired Atlanta Federal Reserve President and Chief Executive Officer George C. (Jack) Guynn, who has served as an Oglethorpe trustee for 25 years, will address the Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. The Class of 2020 commencement ceremony was previously postponed due to pandemic restrictions.

Georgia State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick, an Oglethorpe alumna, will address the graduating Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

Oglethorpe University President Nick Ladany, together with alumnus Timothy P. Tassopoulos, chair of the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees and Chick-fil-A, Inc. president and chief operating officer, will preside over the commencement ceremonies. During both events, the university’s COVID-19 protocols will be in effect, including limited ticketed attendance and required face-coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Seating will allow for necessary social distancing.

“One of the most poignant ways to inspire and celebrate our graduates is to invite alumni with a deep connection to Oglethorpe to share their personal stories,” said President Ladany. “Representative Kendrick has given back to her alma mater in myriad ways while dedicating more than a decade of her impressive career serving the state of Georgia.”

“Throughout his 40-year career, Jack Guynn has set an exemplary standard for leadership, service, and dedication through his decades-long commitment to Oglethorpe University,” President Ladany continued. “The Class of 2020 graduates and their families have waited a year for their formal commencement, and we are excited to finally be able to celebrate their accomplishments together.”

George C. (Jack) Guynn was the thirteenth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, retiring in October 2006. Guynn has served as an Oglethorpe trustee since 1996 and previously chaired the board. He received an honorary degree from the university in 2005.

Guynn earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Virginia Tech in 1964. He completed a master’s degree in industrial management at Georgia Tech in 1970 and the Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development in 1974. Guynn joined the Atlanta Fed in 1964 and held a variety of positions throughout the forty-two years he spent at the Federal Reserve. He worked in payment operations, bank supervision, lending, human resources and other support functions throughout the Sixth Federal Reserve District in New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta. In 1984, Guynn was named first vice president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta Fed, a position he held for 12 years. Guynn succeeded Robert P. Forrestal as president in 1996. Guynn was responsible for all the Bank’s activities, including monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services. He also chaired the Bank’s Management Committee and served on the Federal Open Market Committee.

Over his long career, Guynn was involved in automating every aspect of the operations of the Bank, diversifying the workforce and management, making fundamental changes in payments, and dealing with banking crises in the Southeast. In addition, he was instrumental in opening the Miami branch in 1971 and the new Atlanta headquarters building in 2001.

Guynn was involved in numerous industry, community, and professional groups while at the Federal Reserve and after retirement. In addition to the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees, Guynn has served on the boards of Atlanta Midtown Alliance, Atlanta Police Foundation, Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, Georgia Tech Foundation, Piedmont Park Conservatory, Midtown Atlanta Improvement District, Tull Foundation, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and Furman University Board of Trustees. He was also a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and the Carter Center’s Board of Councilors. He served as chairman of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and led its 2004 community campaign.

Guynn served on the boards of directors of three public companies: Genuine Parts Co., Oxford Industries Inc., and Acuity Brands Lighting Inc. He was also a director of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, a member of ING Americas Advisory Board, and a trustee of SunTrust Bank’s RidgeWorth mutual funds and GenSpring Growth Capital.

Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick is a community activist, public speaker, elected official, private securities attorney, registered investment adviser, consultant, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kendrick has represented Georgia’s House District 93 since 2010, when she was elected at age 27 and became the second youngest member of the Georgia Legislature. Born and raised in Atlanta, Kendrick attended Towers High School (Decatur) where she graduated at the top of her class. In 2004, she graduated from Oglethorpe University with a dual degree in political science and communications. She went on to earn her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, with a focus on corporate law, and a Master of Business Administration with honors from Kennesaw State University. In 2017, Kendrick opened Kendrick Advisory & Advocacy Group, LLC, a consulting and law firm focused on business expansion, policy and advocacy strategy, and financial strategy and compliance. She obtained her series 65 license in 2019 and is a registered investment adviser in Georgia.

Kendrick serves as the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Non-Civil (Criminal law) Committee, Juvenile Justice Committee, Interstate Cooperation Committee, and the Small Business Development and Job Creation Committee. She also is co-founder of the Georgia Future Caucus, a bipartisan group comprised of legislators under 40. In 2018, her peers elected her Chief Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus. A year later, she was appointed to the Telecommunications, Science and Technology Committee for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and started the first Technology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship bipartisan caucus of the Georgia House. She currently serves as the House Whip of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, the largest black caucus in the nation.

Kendrick is a member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s Corporate Development Board and the Diversity Board of the Technology Association of Georgia. She is the visionary and founder of the Georgia Blacks in Tech Policy Conference, subsequently reimagined as the Tech for All Policy Conference. Kendrick was featured in Huffington Post, among 25 Atlantans positioned to create diversity in tech for African Americans. She was selected to be a contributor to Black Enterprise Magazine focused on economic justice issues. In 2019, Kendrick received the Rising Star Award from the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professionals and a “40 under 40” award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Additional details about Oglethorpe’s commencement exercises, may be found at commencement.oglethorpe.edu.

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