Four hundred eight candidates for graduation crossed the stage to receive their degrees during Jacksonville State University's Summer 2012 Commencement exercises at Pete Mathews Coliseum on August 10, 2012.
Former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom Jr., who recently received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the university after serving on the JSU Board of Trustees for more than two decades, was the commencement speaker. A 1974 graduate of JSU, Gov. Folsom brought lasting impact to the state during his service as Lieutenant Governor and Governor, directing Alabama's efforts to secure the first Mercedes-Benz automobile manufacturing plant outside of Germany, which created 150,000 Alabama jobs. Under his leadership as chairman of JSU's Athletic Committee, the university entered Division I and in 2003 was accepted into the Ohio Valley Conference.
Leading the class were top graduates were Heather Leigh Greene of Gadsden, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English; Emily Lauren Glaser of Demorest, Ga., graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication; James Walter Parker of Vance, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Ashley White Blair of Opelika, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and John Charles Benefield of Rainbow City, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.
The faculty led the processional and University President Dr. William A. Meehan presented the degrees.