Kennesaw State University Commencement

Kennesaw State University will hold its 73rd commencement honoring nearly 1‚000 graduates and…

Georgia (Dec 17, 2003) — Kennesaw State University Commencement

Karen Kennedy


Contact: Frances Weyand‚ Director of Media Relations‚ 770−423−6203 or

Kennesaw State University will hold its 73rd commencement honoring nearly 1‚000 graduates and undergraduates in two separate ceremonies.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates of the Michael J. Coles College of Business and the WellStar College of Health and Human Services. The speaker will be Lee E. Rhyant‚ vice president and site general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.

The 3 p.m. ceremony will honor graduates of the Leland H. and Clarice C. Bagwell College of Education‚ the College of Science and Mathematics‚ the School of the Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The speaker will be Justice Robert Benham of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Friday‚ Dec. 19‚ 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center

Biographies of both speakers follow.


Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 17‚500 from 127 countries. The fourth largest state university out of 34 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Bio for Lee Rhyant
Vice president and site general manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.

Lee E. Rhyant was born in Dawson‚ Ga.‚ and moved to Fort Pierce‚ Fla.‚ in 1954. He is the son of Harding Rhyant and the late Evelyn Rhyant.

A graduate of the Lincoln Park Academy class of 1968‚ Rhyant attended Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach‚ where he received a B.S. degree in 1972. He has an MBA from Indiana University and has done further study at London School of Business‚ M.I.T.‚ Harvard‚ General Motors Institute and the University of Michigan.

He joined Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in July 2000 as vice president and site general manager for the company’s Marietta facility. He has more than 30 years of aerospace and automotive industry experience in a wide variety of positions‚ most recently vice president of production operations for Rolls Royce Aerospace‚ Indianapolis‚ and plant manager and other senior management positions in General Motors.

Rhyant serves on many boards of directors‚ some of which are Bethune−Cookman College‚ Morris Brown College‚ Atlanta Area Boy Scouts Council‚ Safe America Foundation‚ The Georgian Club and the United Way of Cobb County. He has received numerous awards‚ honors and recognition for his community service‚ most recently‚ the Outstanding Minority in Business award for the Atlanta area.

Rhyant is married to Evelyn Ingram Rhyant and is the father of twin boys‚ Roderick and Broderick who are both medical doctors. He has two daughters−in−law‚ Anjulia and Andrea. Lee and Evelyn live in Roswell and attend Zion Baptist Church in Marietta. He is also a member of the Omega Fraternity.

Bio for Justice Robert Benham
Supreme Court of Georgia

Justice Robert Benham is a cum laude graduate of Tuskegee University. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia. He has received Honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from John Marshall Law School and Tuskegee University.

In April 1984‚ Gov. Joe Frank Harris appointed Benham to the Court of Appeals. He won the statewide election and served on the Court of Appeals for five years. In December 1989‚ Harris appointed Benham to the Supreme Court of Georgia. He won the statewide election to a full term on the Supreme Court in 1990‚ and went on to become the Georgia Supreme Court's first African−American chief justice in 1995.

Benham serves in numerous local‚ state and national professional organizations‚ and serves on the boards of many civic‚ fraternal‚ business and religious organizations. Some of those are: board of directors of the International Judicial Academy‚ board of trustees of Georgia Historical Society‚ Westville Historical Society‚ Georgia Legal History Foundation‚ Noble Hill Wheeler Foundation‚ board of United States Advisors for the International Judicial Academy and the advisory committee for Juvenile Detention Reform for the state of Georgia.

He is a master in the Bleckley Inn of Court. He has received distinguished service awards from the State Bar of Georgia; Martin Luther King Jr. Commission; Gate City Bar Association; Atlanta Bar Association (Professionalism); the University of Georgia Alumni; Georgia Association of Black−Elected Officials; Georgia Law−Related Education Consortium; Georgia Trial Lawyers; American Judicature Society; NAACP; Urban League; SCLC; Georgia Minority Judges Association; American Society of Writers on Legal Studies; National Law Enforcement Committee; and A. L. Walden Outstanding Lawyer Award.

He is married to the former Nell Dodson and they have two children‚ Corey Benham and Austin Tyler Benham.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit