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Commencement celebrates graduates, Robert Reedy Society inductees

During its Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 3, Carson-Newman University announced its third class of Robert Reedy Bryan Society Fellows. Pictured left to right, this year’s inductees are Dr. Carey Herring, James Coppock, Becky Boatright and The Honorable Jeanette Blazier.

Carson-Newman University announced four inductees into the third class of the Robert Reedy Bryan Society. The recognition took place during C-N’s May 3 Spring Undergraduate Commencement, which awarded degrees to 288 graduates and featured commencement address speaker The Honorable Phil Roe.

Those inducted into the Robert Reedy Bryan Society were The Honorable Jeanette Blazier, Becky Boatright, Jim Coppock and Dr. Carey Herring. Named after the University’s second president, the society honors the dedicated and selfless service of retired faculty, staff and others whose service to the University is exceptional and meritorious.

Click here to read their stories

Jeanette D. Blazier

Jeanette Blazier is a natural leader and has been ever since she was a biology student at Carson-Newman. The ’57 alumna from Hamblen County now resides in Kingsport, where she served as mayor for several years. Her love for Carson-Newman is evident in the many ways she has willingly served when her alma mater turned to her for leadership. From president of C-N’s Alumni Association to chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, Blazier has always been willing to accept roles that allow her to be a bridge between a need and a solution. Her work on the Board of Trustees spans several decades. Over the years, the University proved to be the beneficiary of her steadfast leadership, wisdom and passion for the school and its mission.

Rebecca J. Boatright

Becky Boatright’s love for Carson-Newman and its community was witnessed in her many years of service to the institution – 36 years to be exact. What began with accepting a job in the University’s mailroom, turned into elevated roles critical to the daily operation of the school. From the mailroom, she was asked to serve in accounts payable. Her dedication and attention to detail was evident – and noticed. She was then asked to oversee payroll – a position that led to hundreds of employees relying on her to get paid. Her desire to serve wherever she was needed also led to her becoming C-N’s Human Resources coordinator. The common thread throughout her service was a love for people and her devotion to help them regardless of her role.

James A. Coppock

Forty years in the classroom is to be commended. But so is humility. Jim Coppock’s recognition as a fellow in the Robert Reedy Bryan Society comes with the longtime business professor pointing out that many others could have been named before him. The 1960 alum’s tenure at Carson-Newman came with serving two stints at his alma mater. After serving from 1961 to 1964, he left to join IBM. After gaining valuable insight into the world of business and computers, he left Big Blue to return to Mossy Creek, where he stayed until his retirement in 2006. His strategic management class became legendary, and his keen insight was tapped by the University on several occasions including when he was asked to serve on C-N’s strategic planning committee.

Carey R. Herring

When he was making plans as an incoming Carson-Newman freshman, there is no way Carey Herring could have imagined where his journey would lead. The son of a reporter, studying for a career in journalism made sense. But as often occurs for college students – plans change. His change in direction would eventually benefit hundreds of students and the University. His decision to pursue a degree in mathematics led the ’65 alumnus to a brief period in the defense industry before being enticed to return to Carson-Newman to teach in the Math Department. Agreeing to teach for one year, his tenure grew to 44 years of instruction. His C-N career was highlighted with opportunities to serve in a variety of capacities to which he accepted each graciously.

Left to right: Dr. Charles A. Fowler (C-N President), James A. Coppock, Rebecca J. Boatright, Jeanette D. Blazier and Carey R. Herring.

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