East Georgia State College celebrates graduates at Fall Commencement Ceremony


East Georgia State College (EGSC) held its Fall Commencement Ceremony Friday, December 8. The ceremony was held in the Luck F. Gambrell Building Auditorium on the EGSC Swainsboro campus. Family and friends of the graduates and community members were in attendance for the special event.

Salma Cueva, who graduated during the ceremony, presented the Reflection during the event. Desmal Purcell, a professor at EGSC, delivered the commencement address.

Salma Cueva moved to the United States at the age of five when her mother, Johanna, mar-ried her stepfather, Ashley Gay. She attended Emanuel County Institute before enrolling at EGSC. Cueva graduated during the ceremony with her liberal arts degree. She plans to attend the University of Georgia in the Spring and major in Biology. Cueva’s goal is to become a physician’s assistant or a doctor. Desmal Purcell is an artist, traveler and professor of art who has been a part of the EGSC community since 2004. On his father’s side, Purcell is the fifth generation to walk the lands of a family farm in Stillmore, Georgia. On his mother’s side, he is a second-generation Swedish immigrant. This rich family tapestry has led to a be-lief in place, the power of community and the necessity to examine the strong narratives that help to tell the stories that define our personal and shared identities. A connection to the Emanuel County community and the college is not happenstance. Purcell has a rich family history with EGSC as well. Neil Kalmanson, Professor Emeritus of Art, taught both Purcell’s grandfather and father at the Swainsboro campus. This makes Purcell a third-generation member of the EGSC family. Before joining EGSC as a professor of art, Purcell was co-director/co-founder of Gallery A.D. in Savannah, Georgia, co-owner of dkArts in Statesboro, Georgia, and was a co-founding member of the arts advocacy group Stillmore roots. The group’s annual exhibition, Art in the Woods, was held on the family farm in Stillmore on a managed Pine Forest and promoted interactive art experiences, collaborations, and conversa-tions. Purcell is currently the gallery director of the Kalmanson Gallery, East Georgia State College Art Gallery, the EGSC Graduate Gallery, the EGSC Library exhibition space, and founder of the Longshot Gallery (an alternative venue in Stillmore, Georgia). He serves as faculty advisor to the EGSC Art Club and is co- advisor with Dr. Alan Brasher to the Out-door Rec Club. In addition to teaching, he serves the campus and regional community on a range of committees that aim to enhance access to arts and education. Purcell regularly ex-hibits his artworks both nationally and internationally. He is passionate about the power of art to unite communities. He believes strongly in promoting a consistent commitment to col-laboration and communication. Purcell lives in Stillmore, Georgia, in the home of his great aunt and uncle, Mary and Bud Warren, with his wife, Amber, their children, and many pets.

EGSC hosted a reception with cookies and punch after the ceremony to help celebrate the Fall Class of 2023.