Lady Antebellum members to deliver Commencement address

This article was originally published on UGA Today on March 6, 2018.

Writer: Emily Webb

University of Georgia alumni Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of multi-platinum trio Lady Antebellum will deliver the spring undergraduate Commencement address May 4 at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

Denise Spangler, the Bebe Aderhold Professor in Early Childhood Education in UGA’s College of Education, will deliver the graduate Commencement address that same day at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Tickets are not required for either ceremony.

Hunter Smith, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science, is the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood back to their alma mater,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “They are multi-talented musicians who have impressed the world, and the University of Georgia is very proud of all they have accomplished. We look forward to their inspiring comments.”

Dave Haywood Lady Antebellum

Dave Haywood

Georgia natives Kelley and Haywood of the seven-time Grammy Award-winning trio have launched their latest single “Heart Break,” serving as the title track from their No. 1 sixth studio album, “Heart Break.” Their current release follows more than 18 million units, nine No. 1 hits, ACM and CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” trophies three years in a row and other honors including seven Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and Teen Choice Awards.

Charles Kelley Lady Antebellum

Charles Kelley

Both Kelley and Haywood received Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from UGA in 2004.Along with his success as part of Lady Antebellum, Kelley also earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” for the title track of his solo record “The Driver,” and has penned No. 1 hits recorded by artists including Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. In addition to multi-instrumentalist and producer Haywood co-writing four chart-topping Lady Antebellum hits, including the six-times platinum hit “Need You Now,” Haywood has also written for artists such as Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. The multi-platinum trio will team with Darius Rucker this summer for their co-headlining Summer Plays On Tour, which kicks off July 19.

A professor of mathematics education, Spangler also currently is interim dean of the College of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in mathematics, both from Illinois State University. She earned her doctoral degree in mathematics education at the University of Georgia.

Denise Spangler

Denise Spangler

An award-winning instructor, Spangler is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy and is a recipient of the Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The majority of her career has involved helping elementary education majors learn to teach mathematics to children in ways that build on the numerical and spatial thinking that they develop from interacting with the world. She also teaches graduate courses on mathematics teaching and teacher education. She has graduated more than 30 doctoral students during her time at UGA.

Spangler’s research is tightly integrated with her teaching. She seeks to understand how novice teachers put into practice what they have learned from their teacher education programs, their experiences in schools and their own experiences as students—and how they balance these sometimes competing influences. The author of approximately 100 publications, including journal articles, book chapters and books, she has received continuous funding for her work since joining the UGA faculty in 1995.

“Dr. Spangler is an exemplary professor and administrator who has made a positive impact on the lives of countless numbers of students—from elementary school to the university level—through her teaching, research and service,” Morehead said. “She will provide a compelling message to our graduates.”

In addition to her teaching and research, Spangler has served on and chaired a number of committees and task forces at UGA. Additionally, she was an elected member of the board of education for the Clarke County School District for 12 years and served two terms as vice president of the board. Her national service includes chairing editorial panels for journals in mathematics education and serving on the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

For more information on UGA’s Commencement ceremonies, visit