Cumberland University


Clements Named Honorees of 25th Annual Phoenix Ball

Cumberland University's 25th Annual Phoenix Ball is scheduled for Saturday, June 7, when the University will honor former Congressman and university president Robert Clement and his wife, Mary, who originally founded the event.

"I'm most honored for Mary and me to be a part not only of the Phoenix Ball's past, but also of its future," Clement commented. "I'm pleased that all of the administrations that have followed mine have continued the Phoenix Ball tradition, including President (Harvill) Eaton, who is doing some great things for the University."

In 1983, Clement took the helm of the University -- then a two-year college -- and was challenged by the CU Board of Trust to move Cumberland into the ranks of accredited, four-year institutions. After much discussion with Trustees and community leaders, Clement and his wife decided an on-campus event involving the Wilson County community was the appropriate path.

The result was the first-ever Phoenix Ball and, according to Clement, the Ball proved to be a "major event" that connected the University with the greater community and "greatly contributed to the future of Cumberland University."

It would prove to be an important milestone in the University's history and, for the Silver Anniversary of the Phoenix Ball, there is a fitting theme: 'A Defining Moment.'

For the momentous occasion, the Dallas Floyd Gymnasium will be transformed into a breathtaking ballroom befitting the University's most celebrated annual event. The 25th Annual Phoenix Ball will include plenty of entertainment, dancing, first-class cuisine and the ever-popular silent and live auctions.

"This year's Phoenix Ball will be unlike any of its predecessors, and we couldn't be happier to honor Bob and Mary Clement for their vision in creating this unforgettable tradition at Cumberland," Eaton said. "We're going all out to make certain the Ball's 25th year is its greatest yet. Those who have attended in years past will enjoy this year's celebration like never before, and those who attend for the first time will be absolutely mesmerized by the sheer spectacle of an event that is unique to Cumberland University."

The annual silent auction, which will feature dozens of items including custom-made, hand-crafted jewelry, will be held inside the University's historic Baird Chapel. The silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the 25th Annual Phoenix Ball will begin, bringing with it an evening of fellowship and entertainment.

"It is terrific to be able to celebrate Cumberland University, its students and its role in the community with an exhilarating event like the Phoenix Ball. Without a doubt, it makes for an evening of elegance, but the best part about it is that no one ever forgets the true reason behind the Ball," Eaton said. "We'll gather together -- men in their tuxedos and ladies in their stunning evening gowns -- to support our students and their dreams of a college education."

For more information about the Silver Anniversary of the Phoenix Ball, including ticket information, please contact Joyce Alcorn at 615.547.1235 or or Stephanie Walker at 615.547.1387 or