Campus & Community

Atwater, Sachs to speak at PBSC commencement May 9

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Sen. Maria Sachs will be the keynote speakers at the Palm Beach State College spring commencement ceremonies May 9.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Sen. Maria Sachs

The College will hold two ceremonies at the Palm Beach County Convention Center for the more than 2,400 graduates. Atwater will speak during the 10 a.m. ceremony for the 984 graduates of the Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs along with the certificate programs. Sachs will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony for the 1,440 graduates of the Associate in Arts transfer degree. Both ceremonies will be streamed live at

Atwater has been the state’s elected chief financial officer since 2011. His public service began in 1993, when his hometown of North Palm Beach elected him vice mayor. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and the Florida Senate in 2002 and was unanimously selected to serve as Senate President in 2008.

As CFO, he oversees the state’s accounting and auditing functions and unclaimed property, monitors investments, and manages the deferred compensation and risk management programs. He is responsible for insurance consumer service and licensing and oversight of insurance agents and agencies, funeral homes and cemeteries. Atwater also oversees insurance fraud investigation, ensures that businesses have workers’ compensation coverage for employees, and helps injured workers with benefits and re-employment. His priorities are to eliminate fraud that increases costs for Floridians, reduce regulations that inhibit job growth and economic expansion, expand fiscal transparency and governmental accountability, and protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens from financial harm and abuse.

Atwater earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida and worked in community banking for 25 years.

Sachs, D-Delray Beach, has been a member of the Florida Legislature since 2006. After serving two terms in the Florida House of Representatives, she was elected in 2010 to the Florida Senate, where she currently serves as deputy minority whip and vice chair of the Higher Education Committee. As the daughter of a World War II Army combat veteran, Sachs has been a staunch advocate for veterans. Earlier this year, she led a successful legislative initiative to provide funding for enhanced services for veterans enrolled at Palm Beach State.

An attorney and former prosecutor, Sachs is committed to speaking for those who have no voice and to defending the rights of victims. She formerly served as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where she specialized in protecting the rights of abused women and promoting the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. She has also represented Florida at the Nobel Peace Summit on Human Trafficking in Berlin and served on the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking.  She won the 2016 Honor Roll Award from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and has earned special recognition from the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Sachs graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, then went on to earn a master’s degree from Boston University and her law degree from the University of Miami.

For more commencement information, visit

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