Commencement Speakers

Judge Penny Brown Reynolds

Morning Ceremony

The Honorable Penny Brown Reynolds

The Honorable Judge Penny Brown Reynolds is a nationally respected leader, author, highly dedicated public servant, former jurist, attorney, public theologian and ordained pastor.

Brown Reynolds is a former prosecutor, state Assistant Attorney General, first African American Chief of Staff and legal counsel to Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor. She has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur where she touched millions of people with her internationally syndicated daytime television court series, “Family Court with Judge Penny,” receiving an Emmy award nomination for her work on the series. She has appeared on CNN, HLN, NBC, FOX, PBS, ABC as well as The Huffington Post, USA Today, The Los Angles Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Atlanta Tribune, The Atlanta Daily World, and newspapers throughout the country.

Brown Reynolds has brought the same passion and commitment she delivered to the law, while serving as a distinguished judge in Atlanta for nearly a decade, to both the public and private sectors. As a Life Member of the NAACP, she was the only jurist in history to serve on the Atlanta Chapter NAACP Executive Committee. She is also the proud founding chair of the Judicial Section of the Gate City Bar Association, an affiliate of the National Bar Association.

A history maker and international public figure, Brown Reynolds’ journey is dedicated to the fundamental principles of justice, equality, civic engagement and social justice advocacy. She achieved a distinguished position in Georgia’s history as the first African American to hold the position of Executive Counsel, making her the first African American  to serve as a lawyer for a Governor in the Southeast. For the last ten consecutive years, she has been named to the Atlanta Business League’s 100 Most Influential Women.

She is a member of the National Bar Association Judicial Council, the American Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Gate City Bar Association, Lawyers Club of Atlanta, League of Women’s Voters, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Brown Reynolds is president and CEO of Divine Destiny Enterprises, LLC and the founder of a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families, women, youth and children and providing a voice for the poor. She is the founder of the annual Judge Penny’s SisterTalk: A Women’s Empowerment Conference with thousands of attendees from around the country.

She is a best selling author of several books, “Real Talk for Real Sisters,” “7 Steps to Peace of Mind,” and, “My Mother Told Me,” a novel.  She also co-authored, “Women and the Law: A Guide to Women’s Legal Rights in Georgia.”

Brown Reynolds received her Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, from Georgia State University and her Juris Doctor degree from Georgia State University College of Law. She graduated first in her class, summa cum laude, with highest honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA from the Interdenominational Theological Center, earning a master’s degree. She has also completed studies at Harvard Kennedy School.

She is married to the Reverend Edward S. Reynolds, Pastor of Midway Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves as Associate Pastor. They are the proud parents of two sons and one granddaughter, Pelly Marie.

Ken Boler, headshot

Afternoon Ceremony

Ken Boler

Ken Boler currently serves as Vice President of Advertising for the Albany Herald and AlbanyHerald.com. A premier newspaper, the Herald covers the Southwest Georgia region.

Boler entered the newspaper business 15 years ago as an entry-level sales representative at the Florida Today/Gannett USA Today and later held senior management positions with Knight Ridder, Morris and now the Southern Community Newspapers Inc. (SCNI).

Boler is a results driven leader who draws expertise from a variety of experiences. He served 20 years in the United States Air Force with service points in Kosovo, Japan, Guam, Turkey, Northern Iraq among others.

A passionate community supporter, Boler serves as a board member for the Albany Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany, Albany Symphony, Darton State College Foundation and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. He is also a member of the Disable Vets of America (DAV) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Boler is a graduate of Paine College in Augusta, the Community College of the Air Force and the Air Force Senior Leadership School. He is married to Tammy Boler and has two daughters and a new granddaughter.