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Gov. Bill Haslam addresses Carson-Newman University’s Class of 2018

Campus News | May 04, 2018

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam addresses Carson-Newman graduates during the University's Spring Commencement ceremony. The University celebrated more than 500 graduates during its undergraduate and graduate ceremonies on Friday, May 4.

(May 4, 2018) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — More than 500 Carson-Newman University graduates are ready to make their mark on the world following Spring Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 4.

During the morning undergraduate ceremony, students heard from Gov. Bill Haslam, who counseled graduates to focus not on their own plans, which can change in unexpected ways, but on how they will live.

“Wherever you’re called, seek the welfare of that place,” Haslam advised. “We are called here, no matter what the role is, to seek the welfare of those around us. So that’s my first piece of advice.”

He then called on the memory of former C-N football coach Ken Sparks, telling students to “hustle” about what they are called to do. Next, he advised they be humble, and in closing he told students to remember God’s faithfulness.

“Remember that the Lord is good and his faithfulness endures for all generations,” Haslam concluded.

Prior to giving counsel to the students, he praised Carson-Newman for producing “some of our very best teachers, wonderful nurses who have served, great military servants and business leaders,” as well as being an institution that has held true to its mission.

I am grateful to Carson-Newman for the opportunity to address this outstanding group of graduates,” Haslam said. “Many of these graduates were the first in their families to go to college. We thank Carson-Newman for participating in our Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs. Together, we can all reach our Drive to 55 goals in higher education.”

Haslam is concluding his final term as governor. Since he took office in 2011, Tennessee students have been the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement. Carson-Newman is one of only a few four-year colleges in the state where students can qualify for a Tennessee Promise scholarship and earn an associate degree.

Area representatives and public officials were among the many honored guests who attended the ceremony to hear the governor’s remarks and witness the University’s celebration of graduates’ achievements.

“We are incredibly proud of our graduates and excited to see how their lives help transform the world using the values they learned here at Carson-Newman University: truth, beauty and goodness,” University President J. Randall O’Brien said. “These students represent a wide swath of young professionals who are now prepared to shape the future thanks to the quality education provided by our valued professors.

Friday’s commencement ceremonies took place in Carson-Newman’s Burke-Tarr Stadium at 9 a.m. for undergraduates and in the Holt Field House for graduates at 7 p.m.

National Park Foundation Chief of Staff Ruth Prescott addressed the graduate students.

Prescott began serving on the University’s Board of Trustees in 2015. A 1980 Bachelor of Arts in political science graduate from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, she went on to receive her Juris Doctorate in 1990 from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida. Prescott joined the National Park Foundation in May 2014.

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts university located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University has over 2,500 students and offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.