Cumberland University


CU holds 171st Commencement


Cumberland University celebrated its 171st Commencement on the Front Lawn of Memorial Hall on May 11, conferring degrees on over 400 students of its class of 2013.


In a ceremony punctuated by vibrant musical performances and rousing speeches, Cumberland honored graduating students representing nine countries, 25 states, and 48 Tennessean counties.

University President Dr. Harvill Eaton presided over the event, exhorting students to “always strive for success and in whatever you do, serve with purpose.”

The event kicked off as retiring Professor of Education Dorothy “Dot” Jenkins bore the university’s symbolic mace in an opening processional. Officials honored Jenkins for over 35 years of service, during which she trained and inspired more than 1,000 educators.

The university also honored Mrs. Martha Bradshaw and her late husband Dr. James Bradshaw with the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award, recognizing their years of service and devotion to Cumberland and the Wilson County community.

A member of the Cumberland University Board of Trust, Mrs. Bradshaw has been instrumental in the Phoenix Ball since its inception. Dr. Bradshaw, who passed away in February, served the Wilson County community as a physician for much of his life.

Similarly honored was undergraduate Allyson Clair Agee, who won the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award for her outstanding performance as a student, athlete, and leader.

Eaton also recognized students Hannah Lane Clement and Chelsea Dawn Hardin, who received the President’s Award, and Dr. Jason Grindstaff, Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance, who received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

In addition to celebrating the more than 400 students who donned caps and gowns on Saturday, the university also paid tribute to four departing faculty members, including Jenkins; Dr. Wilbur “Pete” Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Annette Allison, Assistant Professor of Education; and Dr. Mildred Saffell-Smith, Assistant Professor of Education.

The 171st Commencement capped a year of momentous change for Cumberland University, which recently initiated institutional changes to continue to offer students an affordable, high quality-education.