CPH Graduation Celebration

The College of Public Health’s 2023 Spring Graduation Celebration will take place Friday, May 12, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. in the Athena Ballroom of The Classic Center in downtown Athens.

For information on University-wide 2023 Spring Commencement activities, visit https://commencement.uga.edu/.

Maria Thacker Goethe, CEO, The Center for Global Health Innovation

Maria Thacker Goethe is the founding CEO of The Center for Global Health Innovation (CGHI), an Atlanta-based organization formed in 2020 from the merger of Georgia’s major global health and life sciences organizations. Maria is also the president and CEO of Georgia Bio, a role she has held since Feb. 2019, after spending more than 12 years actively building the organization into one of the state’s top bioscience and MedTech associations.

Maria serves on the board of the CJD Foundation, Southeast Life Sciences Association, and KSU Research Foundation, Greater Atlanta Red Cross, and as Chair for the Council of State Bioscience Associations. Most recently, she was named to Georgia Trend magazine’s 2022 Georgia 500 List, 2023, 2022 and 2021 “100 Most Influential Georgians” list, 2022 Power 100 and a top visionary by Atlanta Business Chronicle, and is a 2022 graduate of the Leadership Atlanta program. Additionally, Maria has volunteered for 11 years with the Junior League of Atlanta.

Prior to Georgia Bio, Maria participated in an ORISE fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in environmental investigations, working closely with the National Center of Environmental Health in Chemical Demilitarization. Maria holds a master’s in public health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Sweet Briar College.

Orhan Eribac (BSEH ’23, Global Health Certificate)

Roswell, Ga. native Orhan Eribac initially enrolled at UGA as Zell B. Miller Scholarship recipient, and is now graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Health Science, a Certificate of Global Health, and a Minor in French.

Orhan served as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer with the Georgia Department of Public Health near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and helped support underserved community members that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As students began to return to campus in the Fall of 2020, he took on a position as Resident Assistant and Sustainability Ambassador for University Housing. In this role, he helped craft connections and community through conducting programs on sustainability, environmental justice, local gardening, cultural humility, health & well-being, and more across UGA’s Freshman, Family and Graduate Housing.

Orhan has also worked as an undergraduate research assistant for nearly 2 years in the Environmental Health Science Department with Dr. Luke Naeher and Ph.D. candidate Devan Campbell studying Household Air Pollution and exposures associated with traditional cooking methods in lower-middle-income countries. Outside of academics, Orhan has enjoyed spending his time at UGA sharing French music from around the world as a campus radio host for WUOG and wall climbing at UGA’s Ramsey Student Center.

Next, Orhan will be moving to Seattle this Fall to start his Master of Science in Environmental Health at the University of Washington, where he received competitive funding through a Traineeship with the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety.

Class of 2023 Memories

Event Livestream

Watch or download the recorded livestream of the Class of 2023 Graduation Celebration on Vimeo (Provided by Livestream Events).


View and download photography from the 2023 CPH Graduation Celebration, along with the Class of 2023 video slideshow featuring during the program, from the folder located here. Photos from our photography vendor, GradImages, will be uploaded once we have them.


The ceremony will honor CPH students who graduated in Fall 2022 or plan to graduate Spring or Summer 2023. **The event is free, but students must have submitted an RSVP in early April to participate in the event as a graduating student.**

Please note: Undergraduate and MPH students finishing their degrees in Summer 2023 may participate in the celebration. However, all PhD or DrPH students must have completed their degree requirements by the end of Spring 2023 to participate.

Academic Attire

Appropriate academic regalia must be worn to participate in the UGA Commencement or CPH Graduation Celebration. Caps, gowns and hoods may be purchased at the UGA Bookstore and other off-campus bookstores. Contact the University of Georgia Bookstore at 706-542-3171 or via email for purchasing information. Candidates should wear their tassels over the right eye until the degree is awarded and over the left eye afterwards.

Undergraduates Tassels:
BS Environmental Health tassels are mint green.
BS Health Promotion tassels are salmon.

Arrival Instructions

The CPH Graduation Celebration is expected to last approximately one-and-a-half hours. Please arrive at the Classic Center at 1:45 p.m. to check in. At this time, you will obtain an introduction card and line-up with the other graduation candidates behind the easel for your department. Group photos, including those for specific degree programs, will follow promptly at 2:00 p.m. ***Doors will open to the Athena Ballroom for guests around 1:30. Ambassadors will be available to direct everyone to correct places from there.***


Parking for the CPH Graduation Celebration is available at the Classic Center or surrounding parking decks. Parking on the UGA Campus will also be free to students and visitors attending UGA’s graduate or undergraduate ceremonies. (More information can be found at https://commencement.uga.edu/.)


Diplomas will be mailed from the UGA Registrar’s Office approximately 6 weeks after commencement.


Please email [email protected].

Undergraduates: Looking for information on how to apply for Graduation? Please check out the FAQs on the CPH Undergraduate Advising Office webpage.

Help us Celebrate!

Step in front of one of our UGA CPH logo Step & Repeat backdrops and grab a photo of yourself in your cap and gown or Georgia Red & Black.

Now, add some fun #UGAGrad GIFs and share it with us on social media at Facebook, X, or Instagram.  Don’t forget to use the hashtags #UGAPublicHealth, #UGA23, or #UGAGrad.  You might see your post on commencement.uga.edu.

Keep in Touch

We want to stay in touch! Join our the UGA College of Public Health Group on LinkedIn or take a moment to share your current address so we can include you in future mailings.