Graduation ceremony features Florida State Senator

Taddeo is a UNA alumna and Florida State Senator. She will speak at the spring commence ceremony.

Some seniors may be nervous about graduating, but a speech by a successful UNA alumna can be reassuring.

UNA will host two Spring Commencement Ceremonies May 12 in Flowers Hall.

Both ceremonies will feature Florida State Senator and UNA alumna Annette Taddeo as the guest speaker.

Taddeo graduated from UNA in 1992 with a degree in commercial Spanish and a minor in business administration. Taddeo returned to her home in Perrine, Florida after graduation to help her parents rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Andrew according to her website. After rebuilding, Taddeo went on to start her own business, LanguageSpeak.

LanguageSpeak provides translation services in more than 240 languages from native speakers according to their website. The website states the Small Business Administration recognizes LanguageSpeak as the Minority Small Business Champion.

On September 26, 2017, Taddeo became Florida State Senator for District 40. Taddeo is Florida’s first Democrat to win over a Republican in a special election. She is also the first Latina Democrat to serve in the Florida Senate.

Senior Alycia Samuels said hearing Taddeo’s speech will be bittersweet.

“The good thing is that it shows our students that you can go into higher positions inside the nation coming from this university, but the bad is that (Taddeo went) to another state to help that state (instead of) helping within (Alabama),” she said. “If it was a UNA graduate and they were a (senator) in this state, that would be a lot better.”

Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Anderson College of Nursing will participate in the first ceremony at 10 a.m. The second ceremony is for the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Sciences at 2 p.m.

Senior Kellen Mataafa said he will feel a sense of accomplishment when he graduates.

“I’m excited to be done with school but also not really looking forward to being done with my time at UNA and in Florence,” he said. “College isn’t for everyone, but (graduation) has been my goal since day one.”

The ceremony is open to everyone and the university is not issuing tickets for guest attendance. There will be a livestream of the event for family and friends who cannot attend the ceremony on the university’s YouTube page. (