State Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, a native of Talbot County, will give the keynote address during this year’s Andrew College Commencement ceremony.

Sims, D-Dawson, was first elected to the Georgia Senate in 2008 to represent the 12th Senatorial District.</p>

The Commencement is set for 1:30 p.m. May 6 at Jinks Gymnasium at the college.

Andrew College will also hold a baccalaureate ceremony in conjunction with commencement. It will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 6 at the United Methodist Church in Cuthbert. The speaker will be Michael McCord, executive director of the Georgia United Methodist Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry.

In the state Senate, Sims serves as secretary of the Education and Youth Committee, vice chair of Interstate Cooperation and is a member of the Appropriations, Retirement, and Natural Resources and the Environment committees. She also has received special appointments to the Child Welfare Reform Council and the Long Term Aquifer Storage Study Committee.

Her community, civic and professional involvement has been extensive. Sims is the recipient of numerous awards and certificates, including the 2004 Outstanding Financial Contributions to Capital Campaign Award for Fort Valley State University and the 2008 Outstanding Legislator of the Year award for technical and adult education.

She said her desire to serve the public, providing a voice for those citizens who do not have one, was what called her to politics. She is a retired middle school principal, attends Shiloh Baptist Church in Albany, and is married to Norman Sims. They have three daughters.

Sims received a bachelor of science in social sciences and social studies education from Fort Valley State University, as well as her master of education in elementary education from Georgia State University. She also holds a specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Georgia, as well as a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Sarasota.

As part of the commencement ceremony, Fletcher Henderson Jr. will be honored with a posthumous honorary doctor of music degree. Henderson, born in Cuthbert in 1897, is considered one of the most influential arrangers and bandleaders in jazz history in America. His band garnered attention and acclaim during the 1920s, and later his arrangements for the bands of Benny Goodman in the 1930s and 40s, were acknowledged.

Many giants of the jazz world either got their start with, or played with the Henderson bands of the 1920s, including Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Roy Eldridge. Henderson died on Dec. 28, 1952, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Cuthbert.


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