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LAKELAND, Fla. — Southeastern University (SEU) will hold its Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony at the RP Funding Center on Friday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. 

The spring class of 2022 is SEU’s 85th graduating class and includes a total of 971 graduates. SEU’s graduates come from Florida, 43 other states and 18 countries, including Australia, Brazil, France, India, Nigeria and more. In addition, 86 of the graduates participating in the ceremony come from 43 of SEU’s extension site locations. 

Kristen K. Waggoner, general counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), will be speaking at the ceremony. 

ADF is a faith-based legal advocacy organization that engages in litigation, legislative work, training, funding and public advocacy. Since joining ADF in 2013, Waggoner has represented the winning parties of two U.S. Supreme Court cases and will argue her third case at the Supreme Court this fall. Waggoner has served as a clerk for Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders, as well as worked 16 years at Seattle law firm Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC. She is a widely sought-after speaker on constitutional issues and has appeared frequently in print, radio and television media, making appearances on The View, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline and many other major network programs.

The student speaker is Lydia Pogu, a graduate student receiving a master’s in human services administration. Pogu and her cousin, Joy Bishara, who is also in the graduating class, were among over 200 female students kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria, in 2014. The pair were able to escape and have since shared their story around the world, notably with members of the United Nations Security Council and the Human Rights Watch. After graduation, Pogu plans to work for a nonprofit organization while studying for the LSAT. Ultimately, her goal is to enroll in law school and become a human rights and international lawyer.

Senator Kelli Stargel will also be in attendance, as she will be receiving the SEU President’s Award in honor of her lifelong commitment to public service. 

Senator Stargel has served four years in the Florida House of Representatives followed by 10 years in the Florida Senate. She currently serves as the chair of the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful positions among the state’s 160 lawmakers. In addition, Senator Stargel is the alternating chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission and serves on the Banking and Insurance Committee, the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, and the Rules Committee. She has had one of the longest careers in recent history for a legislator from Polk County.

The ceremony is open to graduates and ticketed guests and will be livestreamed at SEU.edu/graduation.

If you would like to cover this event, please contact Skylar Worthington at seworthington@seu.edu to arrange parking and interviews.

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