Cumberland Kicks Off 178th Academic Year with Convocation Ceremony

Cumberland University initiated the start of the 2019-2020 academic year with the school’s 178th convocation ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 21. 

An estimated 3,000 students, faculty and staff gathered in the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena for the ceremony that officially kicks off the 2018-2019 academic year. Frank and Cindy Rudy were the mace bearers and led the processional of deans and senior university administrators dressed in regalia. Mr. Rudy is the nephew of Jeanette C. Rudy, namesake of the Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions.

President Paul Stumb, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bill McKee, Rev. James Panacka from St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, University Chaplain Dr. Mike Ripski, and Student Government Association President Kayla Sanders offered words of inspiration and encouragement. 

Dr. Bill McKee is excited to commence Cumberland’s 178th academic year with the largest convocation ceremony in school history.

“The start of each academic year is an exciting time for students, faculty and staff,” said McKee. “With the consistent growth of the university, this year has an energy like no other in my many years as part of the Cumberland family. As students begin their journey through higher education, we want to do everything we can to help each of them achieve both personal and professional success.” This year’s enrollment is the largest in school history. Official enrollment figures will be made available after census day in early September.

The annual Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Tiffany Street. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Cumberland University Alumni Association to salute alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify the qualities that Cumberland stands for.

Street is a 2000 graduate of Cumberland with a Bachelor of Science degree. She serves as the Assistant Director of Advanced Practice, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Street has also served several nonprofit organizations in leadership positions and serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Vascular Nursing, National President for Alpha Sigma Tau National Sorority and President of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Alumni Board. 

The ceremony was rounded out by the recitation of the Cumberland Creed and singing of the alma mater.

The traditional “Heart of the Phoenix” ceremony immediately followed the Convocation. Students, faculty and staff wrote down any fears or concerns about completing their education or achieving their dreams, and cast them into the fire pit to burn.

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