University Park, IL,
15:14 PM

GSU student Sonya Petty selected as a 2022 commencement speaker

Graduate Profile: Sonya Petty


Commencement speaker Sonya Petty finished her education at Governors State University (GSU) remotely, and looks forward to attending  commencement on May 14. Representing the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) as an IDSS major, Petty,  a 57-year-old native of Chicago's South Side, will address her fellow graduates during the morning ceremony where CAS and College of Business will be honored.

GSU Newsroom: What brought you to GSU?

Petty: I began attending GSU in 2016. I took a break from in-class schooling and had 11 credits to complete when I decided to resume working on  my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.  Why did I want to return? Why not!  Anything is possible. I wish I had this energy in my youth, but I’ve been blessed to have a great career as a medical coder. I was a consultant. I’ve traveled to different countries and to remote places in the United States.

GSU Newsroom: How did it feel to be selected as a commencement speaker?

Petty: I'm grateful for the special opportunity. It’s been two years since they had commencement (in-person), so I’m super honored.

GSU Newsroom: Why is GSU special?

Petty: As a non-traditional student, GSU has a special place in my heart. I think GSU represents a plethora of people. Whether you’re 18-years-old, middle aged, a senior, I think GSU represents a variety of people. My story is not any different than someone who wants to start out now. You have to have the mindset to do it.

GSU Newsroom: What's next after graduation?

Petty: I look forward to working on my master’s degree in public health but for now, I'm looking forward to taking center stage at the ceremony to give my speech, where my 28-year-old daughter Akilah will be among the onlookers.