Paine College students graduate months after accreditation status is settled

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Paine College had their 137th Commencement Ceremony this morning.

Valerie Hollimon graduated as the Class of 2019 Valedictorian after four years at Paine.

"Paine College chose me, god chose this place for me to go to, I was destined to be here it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life," said Hollimon.

Throughout her 4 years and even before, Paine College struggled as it battled to keep its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. But Hollimon says she was never worried about Paine's status.

"I had faith that Paine college was never going anywhere, we've remained 137 years strong and we have the future to come," she said.

The way Salutatorian Darrien Holland sees it, it was just a bump in the road and it never affected the classroom.

"I was challenged by the teachers here just because those accreditation issues might've been going on, the education did not change i was challenged," said Holland.

Regardless of the obstacles Paine faces it now has two accreditations, the other with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Holland and Hollimon say they are proud to call Paine their school.

"The opportunity is here if you come to Paine college, it's just about applying yourself," said Holland.

Hollimon said, "I will continue to be an ambassador for this institution because I've seen the great works they have put into the world and the great students that will come through here."

Now they're excited for what's to come.

"My journey doesn't end here it's only the beginning of the next chapter," said Hollimon.

Holland said, "This isn't my only stop I'm gonna continue my education for my MBA in the fall."

At today's ceremony, Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Analyst gave the Commencement Address. Dr. Hardee, President of Paine College also spoke, as well as the 2019 Class President, and Valedictorian Valerie Hollomin.

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