Cumberland Kicks Off 179th Academic Year with Convocation Ceremony

Cumberland University formally initiated the start of the 2020-2021 academic year with the school’s 179th convocation ceremony on Monday, Aug. 24.

The ceremony, which typically includes all students, faculty and staff, was limited to sixty guests in Baird Chapel. The ceremony was streamed live on YouTube for those unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. Michael Moscardelli was the mace bearer and led the procession of deans and senior university administrators dressed in regalia. 

The invocation was led by Diocese of Nashville Bishop J. Mark Spalding. President Paul Stumb, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bill McKee, Faculty Senate President Peg Fredi and Student Government Association President Allie Garcia offered words of inspiration and encouragement. 

The annual alumni awards were presented to the following recipients:

  • Distinguished Alumni Award: La Quita Martin (2019)
  • Rising Phoenix Award: Jennifer (Jenny) Gaffney (2006)
  • The Award of Excellence in the Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions: Monicka Stevenson (2009)
  • The Award of Excellence in the Labry School of Science, Business and Technology: Joshua Sevier (2012)
  • The Award of Excellence in the School of Humanities, Education and the Arts: Aqeel Kadhom Hussein Al Bdairy (2016)

Additional awards included the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence presented to Assistant Professor of Nursing Julie Windmiller, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award presented to Herman D. “Boone” and Sally Swain. A Doctor of Literary Letters (honoris causa) was presented to Michael Jon Spalding, M.D. Cumberland also publicly acknowledged and celebrated the law degree earned by Don Carlos Birdwell over sixty years ago. 

The ceremony was rounded out by the recitation of the Cumberland Creed, the singing of the alma mater and University Chaplain Dr. Mike Ripski led the benediction.

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