THOMASVILLE, GA – During its undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies held on its Forbes Campus on Saturday, May 8, Thomas University recognized students receiving degrees from the class of 2020 and 2021. TU also presented awards to its outstanding graduates from the class of 2021 with its PresidentÂ’s Award and division awards. 

 At the morning undergraduate ceremony, TU announced the recipient of its PresidentÂ’s Award, which is the highest honor presented to a TU student. This yearÂ’s recipient is Austin Roberts from Ponce De Leon, Florida, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. Also a member of the Night Hawks Baseball Team, RobertsÂ’ academic work placed him on the PresidentÂ’s List every semester of his time at TU.  

 Â“He has a passion for science and recently presented his research for Mexico at the 82nd Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual Meeting,” said Dr. Andy Sheppard, TU President, as he announced RobertsÂ’ selection for the award. “He has earned praise from colleagues at Tall Timbers, where he completed his internship, and he is an active member of Mu Kappa Delta Chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society. You should know that I have selected Austin on the basis of the very strong recommendations from his professors who describe him as respectful, smart, intuitive and helpful.” 

Roberts was one of five TU students selected to present research projects at the Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual meeting in March. He presented the project Â“Overgrazing Effects on Desertification in Mexico,” for which he used geospatial information systems to compare soil degradation and cattle density in areas of Mexico. Roberts examined annual precipitation in the areas to determine whether that was a factor. He found that overgrazing of cattle was a factor, but that other factors may play a role in desertification. RobertsÂ’ presentation can be viewed at

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