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Graduating Senior Soars at FVSU Following a Twist of Fate

Posted on Dec 12, 2019


Fort Valley State University graduating senior Filmore Thomas IV had no plans to attend Fort Valley State University.

As a native of nearby Macon, Georgia, Thomas had his sights set on attending college away from home. But when faced with the reality of high out-of-state fees and tuition costs at other institutions, Thomas said he made the reluctant, but fortunate decision to attend FVSU.

"Fort Valley State University was never my first option or an option I really ever seriously considered," said Thomas, who will be graduating from FVSU during Saturday's fall 2019 commencement ceremony with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. "Due to not being able to afford out-of-state institutions and having minimal interest in any other institution, my path was chosen for me. Fort Valley State University was my only option if I wanted to attend college, so I reluctantly came on the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program track."

The twist of fate was one of the best things that Thomas said could have ever happened. At FVSU, with its smaller class sizes, engaged professors and zeal for scholarship and academic excellence, Thomas soared.

Along with being a CDEP scholar and leader during his college career, Thomas also served in leadership roles for several campus-based organizations, including as president of the Fort Valley Society of Black Engineers and co-founder and president of the Fort Valley Faithful Black Men Association.

He has won various scholarships as well, including from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund/Department of Defense, Apple HBCU Scholarship Program, Peyton Anderson Foundation, Education Together, U.S. Postal Workers Union and Robins Financial Most Excellent Team.

"As someone who had relatively low expectations for FVSU, I can say my expectations have been exceeded on all levels," he said. "From having intimate class sizes and, as a byproduct, relationships with professors that have enhanced by academic growth, to having the opportunity as an underclassman to lead organizations, FVSU has given me the opportunity to sprout in all directions. FVSU is the perfect breeding ground for any idea, concept, or innovation you may want to try."

Thomas will be one of approximately 239 students awarded degrees at the fall commencement ceremony, which begins at 9:30 a.m., at FVSU Health and Physical Education (HPE) Complex, 1005 State University Drive in Fort Valley, GA.

Following graduation, he will begin a full-time position as a data science engineer at Apple, Inc. in Austin, Texas. He said he also plans to start an alumni chapter there and become an involved member of the FVSU National Alumni Association.

To future FVSU students, Thomas encouraged them to be willing to dream big.

"Just because you haven't done it before doesn't make it impossible," Thomas said. "Dare to dream, dare to innovate, dare to create your own path. You are your ancestors' wildest dreams."


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