Cumberland Celebrates Largest Graduating Class in 179-Year History

 Cumberland University hosted its 179th Commencement Ceremony, celebrating the largest graduating class in school history in ceremonies over the weekend.

The Master’s Ceremony and Hooding took place on the Memorial Hall Lawn Friday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. and the Undergraduate Ceremony was held on Memorial Lawn on Saturday, May 8 at 10:00 a.m. There was no limit on guest attendance, and masks were required for all graduates and attendees. 

The 2020-2021 academic year began with the school’s largest total enrollment, with 2,704 total students and concluded with a Commencement Ceremony honoring 697 graduates, the largest number in the university’s 179 year history. 

“I am so proud of this year’s graduates and the agility and perseverance they have shown,” said University President Dr. Paul C. Stumb. “Although masks were still worn, I’m glad this year’s graduates were able to have a semi-traditional ceremony, with their friends and family present, to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment. I’m honored to welcome 697 new graduates to the Cumberland University Alumni Association, and I look forward to seeing how they each thrive personally, professionally and spiritually for a lifetime. ”

The processional included Cumberland Liaison for International Admissions Patricia (Pace) Pope as the macebearer, followed by the 2021-2022 Student Government Officers, Lillith Johnson, president, Natalie Humphrey, vice president, Jennifer Perez, secretary and Will Romero, treasurer. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. William McKee formally announced the 179th commencement assembly. The invocation was led by Cumberland Instructor of Criminal Justice Matthew Espenshade and the “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by the Cumberland Chorale and University Singers, led by Professor of Music Dr. Brian Killian. 

Cumberland University President Dr. Paul Stumb welcomed the graduates and congratulated them on the hard work and dedication that has led to their success. Cumberland Board of Trust Chairman W.P. Bone, III; Faculty Senate President and Assistant Professor of Art Dr. Peg Fredi and Student Government President Allie Garcia all spoke words of congratulations and encouragement to the graduates. 

After the conferral of earned degrees, those in attendance sang the Cumberland University alma mater. The benediction came from University Chaplain Mike Ripski and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. William McKee closed the ceremony. For more information on Cumberland’s 2021 Commencement Ceremony, visit

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