Cumberland University holds 175th commencement


Cumberland University’s 175th commencement ceremony took place Saturday on Memorial Lawn with approximately 496 graduates earning diplomas, which was the largest class in the University’s history. An estimated 4,500 guests were in attendance for the one hour and 45-minute ceremony where a little rain and a little sunshine made an appearance. The ceremony was condensed because of the threat of rain, although it did not dampen the spirits of the graduates and their families. This year the honor of Macebearer was given to Rick and Sally Heydel, son and daughter-in-law of longtime CU trustee Bill Heydel, who passed away in 2016 and June Heydel, who passed away in 2015.

Deron Henry, a 1996 graduate of Cumberland University and student pastor of the First Family First Baptist Church in Columbia, Tenn., gave the invocation. Paul C. Stumb, president of Cumberland University; Robert McDonald, chairman of the board of trust; Natalie Inman, faculty senate chair; and Nytrellis Ross, president of the Student Government Association all spoke words of gratitude and encouragement to the graduates. Ross recounted memorable moments of the last four years they have spent together.

A University proclamation was read in honor of Chairman McDonald, who has served two terms. McDonald and his wife, Susan, were surprised with the announcement of an endowed scholarship established in their names by the CU board of trust. The Robert K. and Susan L. McDonald Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually.

Other awards and recognitions given out at commencement:

The President’s Award was given to David Gregory, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, History Honors Society and Pi Gamma Mu, the Social Science Honor Society.  This year he received the History Associate of Wilson County Award as well as the Raymond Cleveland Award in Social Science.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award was given to Nytrellis Ross, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting and management. Ross has served in the Student Government Association for three years, and this year as President. He is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta – Freshman Honor Society and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. As a member of the Cumberland University football team, Ross was a three-time Mid-South Conference Scholar-Athlete (2014, 2015, and 2016) and two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete (2015, 2016).

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Community Award was given to Gary and Tammye Whitaker. Their civic and charitable causes have boosted the Lebanon community and inspired others. Gary received his degree from The Graduate School of Banking at LSU. He serves as executive vice president of Wilson Bank and Trust, where he has worked at the bank since 1996. Tammye received a bachelor’s degree in science from Belmont College and a master’s degree in education from MTSU. She worked in the Office of Student Affairs at Belmont University for 22 years serving as the assistant dean of students prior to retirement. Gary and Tammye are involved at College Hills Church of Christ, serve on the board of Sherry’s Run, and are graduates of Leadership Wilson. Gary is currently a member of the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary; in the past he has served on various boards including the Chamber of Commerce, Adult Education, and the Southeastern School of Consumer Credit. Tammye has led various support groups for the Wilson County community and worked with the school system to provide information to students with disabilities on how to successfully transition from high school to college.

The President’s Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Mary Lewis Haley, a Cumberland alumna and accounting and economics professor for more than 30 years. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Tennessee, and her master’s as well as doctoral degree are from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the area of taxation, a Certified Management Accountant and she is Certified in Financial Management. She holds memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), the Tennessee Society of Accounting Educators (TSAE), the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), and the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Dr. Haley has held leadership positions in the TSCPA. Currently, she is serving on the Accounting Education and Career Awareness Committee of the TSCPA.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was given to Jonathan G. Franklin, a 1989 graduate of Cumberland University. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Cumberland University Alumni Association and salutes the achievements of outstanding alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify the objectives of the University. During his time at CU, Franklin was an outstanding baseball player and was inducted into the Cumberland Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He is the owner and operator of Franklin Family Eye Care in Mount Juliet.

The Rising Phoenix Award was given to Justin B. Bradford, a 2008 alumnus.This award recognizes alumni 35 years of age or younger who display outstanding leadership qualities and have exceptional achievement early in their careers and in public service and volunteer activities. He is the digital media manager and producer with the Nashville Symphony as well as host of Penalty Box Radio on ESPN 102.5 The Game. He is also the author of Nashville Predators: The Making of Smashville.

The Award of Excellence in Humanities, Education, and the Arts was presented to Thomas William “Toby” Compton, Jr., a 2011 Master of Science in Public Service Management graduate. After an impressive career in politics and state and local government, he is currently the president and CEO of the Greater Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

The Award for Excellence in Nursing and Health Professions was presented to Jennifer Weatherspoon Quigley, a 2008 graduate. She currently works as a nurse practitioner with Healthy Kids LLC in Shelbyville. She was recognized as a Frist Global Health Leader in 2015.

The Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, and Business was presented to John C. Pope, a 1996 graduate. A prominent local banker and past president of the CU Alumni Association board of directors, Pope is currently vice president of Southern Bank of Tennessee.

Cumberland University has one of the longest, richest histories of any higher education institution in the state. Founded in 1842, the University flourishes today with exceptional faculty and fully-accredited academic programs steeped in the liberal arts, including three distinct schools: the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions; the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts; and the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business. With a student body approaching 2,000, 25 percent of whom live on campus, our unique residential living and learning experience allows students to find their sense of belonging. Athletics also are a strength of Cumberland University, as its teams in 20 sports regularly compete for conference and national championships. Its world-renowned baseball team has claimed the NAIA national championship title three times since 2004. At Cumberland University you can Learn What’s Possible!

First Name Last Name Major1 City State
Gianna Abatti Psychology Nipomo CA
Nathan Albright Biochemistry Louisville KY
Hannah Alexander Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
David Allen Accounting Memphis TN
Kyle Allen Health & Human Performance Marietta GA
Matthew Alter Management Montgomery AL
Brandon Anthony Music Westmoreland TN
Joshua Armstrong Health & Human Performance Southampton Non-US
Chase Arnold Master of Sport and Exercise Science Weston MO
Holly Arredondo Business Administration Lebanon TN
Haley Austin Criminal Justice/Public Administration Mt. Juliet TN
Mark Autry Nursing Hendersonville TN
Kate Ballard Nursing Nashville TN
Tiffany Barnes Master of Arts in Education Franklin KY
Hailey Barrett Associate of Arts in Business Lebanon TN
Anthony Bartolomeo Master of Business Administration Lebanon TN
Joshua Bates Management Mt. Juliet TN
Christopher Bazile Criminal Justice/Public Administration Old Hickory TN
Morgan Beasley Business Administration Lafayette TN
Alexis Beeler Forensic and Criminal Justice Science Hodgenville KY
Caylie Bell Nursing Carthage TN
Kailey Bilbrey Athletic Training Lebanon TN
Amber Bolerjack Nursing Smyrna TN
DeQuan Bond Health & Human Performance Antioch TN
Audri Bowman Associate of Arts in Business Carthage TN
Elizabeth Bradshaw Nursing Lebanon TN
Joshua Brantley Nursing Murfreesboro TN
Maria Brenes Psychology Lebanon TN
Megan Brewington Nursing Lebanon TN
Lesa Brooks Humanities & Social Sciences Mount Pleasant TN
Meghan Buckler Nursing Carthage TN
Rylan Burgess Nursing McMinnville TN
Andres Burgos Master of Business Administration Mexico city
Taylor Bush Associate of Arts Mt. Juliet TN
Alecia Butorac Special Education Mt. Juliet TN
Christian Byrd Nursing Hartsville TN
Alexis Campagne Health & Human Performance Crestview FL
Ashley Campbell RN to BSN Whitwell TN
Mandy Cantone RN to BSN Clanton AL
Emily Carr Associate of Arts Lebanon TN
Tamela Carter RN to BSN Desota TX
Wyatt Carter
Interdis. Stud. – Emphasis – Edu. & Hum. Develop.
Bethpage TN
Kaitlin Cashion Associate of Arts Nashville TN
Austin Chaplin Management Loganville GA
Hunter Christian Master of Arts in Teaching Lebanon TN
Olivia Chu Marketing Edmonton Non-US
Brandi Coates Art & Design Antioch TN
Sandra Coleman Master of Education: Instructional Leadership Nashville TN
Brian Conn Health & Human Performance Clarksville TN
Angel Cranfield Master of Arts in Education White Bluff TN
Cortney Crews Master of Education: Instructional Leadership Gallatin TN
Fredrel Cross Criminal Justice/Public Administration Bolivar TN
Jacob Dailey Accounting Nashville TN
Corey Daniels Management Cary NC
Michelle Daniels Accounting Huntsville AL
Doniele Danner Nursing Cunningham TN
Justus Dauscha Criminal Justice/Public Administration Murfreesboro TN
Maxwell Davenport Accounting Lebanon TN
Jessica Davis Nursing Castalian Springs TN
John Davis Marketing Cookeville TN
Kyle Delaune Management Metairie LA
Allison Demastus Master of Education: Instructional Leadership Columbia TN
Conner Dodson Accounting Carthage TN
Peter Donchev Management La Jolla CA
Danielle Dubois Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
Tammy Dunson RN to BSN Hermitage TN
Katlin Eakes Nursing Lebanon TN
Robert Edwards Master of Public Service Management Clarksville TN
Sarah Edwards Psychology Buena Park CA
Samuel Eichler Criminal Justice/Public Administration Mission Viejo CA
Katherine Enoch Nursing Hartsville TN
Christopher Escamilla Health & Human Performance Lafayette TN
Michelle Evans Health & Human Performance Columbia TN
Taylor Fiehweg Associate of Arts in Business Lebanon TN
Stephen Fischer Accounting Bradenton FL
Tamara Floyd Nursing Westmoreland TN
Amanda Franklin Business Administration Lebanon TN
Julia Friddell History Mt. Juliet TN
Angela Frierson RN to BSN Mount Pleasant TN
Brandon Fuhrmann Management Mt. Juliet TN
Jeffrey Gagliano Nursing Hermitage TN
Lauren Gaines Master of Arts in Education Old Hickory TN
Kayla Gann Nursing Lebanon TN
Krista Gardner Biochemistry Goodspring TN
Morgan Gartner Nursing Watertown TN
Kennedy Glover Nursing Hermitage TN
Christopher Golden Marketing Ft Riley KS
Elliot Goodwin Health & Human Performance Macclesfield
Callie Gordon Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
Nathan Gordon Master of Education: Instructional Leadership Lebanon TN
Lindsey Grah English Old Hickory TN
Jamonte Graham Health & Human Performance Nashville TN
Bailey Greer Business Administration Lebanon TN
David Gregory History Nashville TN
Nicole Guffey Accounting Mt. Juliet TN
Abbey Hailey Associate of Science Lebanon TN
Lindsey Hale Nursing Elmwood TN
Courtney Halfacre Master of Arts in Education Crossville TN
Emily Hall Nursing Watertown TN
Kelsey Halpin Nursing Nashville TN
Dora Haney-Snider RN to BSN Manchester TN
Jordan Hardy Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
Edna Harl Master of Business Administration Louisville KY
Tanner Harp Business Administration Hendersonville TN
Kaycee Harris Special Education Lebanon TN
Lindsey Harrison Nursing Westmoreland TN
Dominique Hayes Master of Sport and Exercise Science Whites Creek TN
Benjamin Haynes
Interdis. Stud. – Emphasis – Edu. & Hum. Develop.
Old Hickory TN
Samantha Hendricks Accounting Cedar Hill TN
Roxanne Hensley Nursing Nashville TN
Marquel Hickerson Management Tullahoma TN
Brandie Hill Associate of Arts in Business Watertown TN
Ryan Hill Master of Education: Instructional Leadership Old Hickory TN
Ashley Hodges Nursing White House TN
Molly Holdstein Nursing Castalian Springs TN
Emily Homan Nursing Brentwood TN
Dacia Horne Nursing Lebanon TN
Rebekah Huber Associate of Arts Mt. Juliet TN
Lindsay Huddleston Nursing Lebanon TN
Samantha Hudson Criminal Justice/Public Administration Lebanon TN
Whitney Huffaker Master of Arts in Education Monticello KY
Cara Hughey Nursing Cookeville TN
Kelsie Hull Nursing Lascassas TN
Andrew Hunn Management Lebanon TN
Cybile Huntsman Master of Arts in Teaching Scottsville KY
Ngodoo Itiavkase Psychology Paducah KY
Lindsay James Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
Franki Jecker Biology McKinney TX
Bianca Jensen Nursing Pedro Bay AK
Ashley Johnson Associate of Arts Crossville TN
Cameron Johnson Health & Human Performance Chicago IL
Cody Johnson Management Madison AL
Zachary Johnson Management Tampa FL
Zackary Jones Health & Human Performance Mt. Juliet TN
Zachary Kean Management Cross Plains TN
Christopher Key Nursing Portland TN
Garrett Kirkland Special Education Carbon Hill AL
Jessica Kondus Nursing Hendersonville TN
Deirdre Lackey Master of Public Service Management Nashville TN
Daniel Lambert Master of Sport and Exercise Science Beaufort SC
Mitchell Langer Health & Human Performance Madison AL
Maruta Languedoc RN to BSN Crossville TN
Ashley Lawrence Master of Business Administration Carthage TN
Dana Lefler Nursing Mt. Juliet TN
Hannah Leonard Associate of Science Lebanon TN
Julia Lewis Child Growth & Learning Hermitage TN
Caleb Limbaugh Business Administration Decherd TN
Jalyssa Lopez Nursing Nashville TN
Jacob Loucks Humanities & Social Sciences Lebanon TN
Lamar Love-Quezaire Criminal Justice/Public Administration Lewisburg TN
Trevor Lowe Nursing Franklin TN
Garang Madut Humanities & Social Sciences Nashville TN
Jennifer Martin Master of Arts in Teaching Liberty TN
Wesley Mason Health & Human Performance Dowelltown TN
Lauren Mayer Master of Sport and Exercise Science Murfreesboro TN
Brianna Maynard Master of Business Administration Manukau
Kaitlin McClard Business Administration Lafayette TN
Kelsie McMurtry Nursing Lafayette TN
David McWright Master of Business Administration Kingston Springs TN
JoTeshia Medaries Nursing Nashville TN
Courtney Mickens Master of Arts in Education Collierville TN
Maury Mingle Master of Business Administration Thompson’s Station TN
Kassydi Montgomery Psychology Hendersonville TN
Emily Napier RN to BSN Ashland CIty TN
Anh Nguyen Accounting Nashville TN
Katelyn Nowakowski Athletic Training Huntsville AL
George Nwokoji Health & Human Performance Old Hickory TN
Delaney Oldham Associate of Arts in Business Hartsville TN
Jose Ortega Vela Accounting
Chiclana de le Frontera
Tiffany Padgett Business Administration Lebanon TN
John Paise Humanities & Social Sciences Murfreesboro TN
Margaret Palmertree Nursing Lavergne TN
Gabriella Papa Biology Hermitage TN
William Patterson Associate of Science Pleasant Shade TN
Mason Pavan Business Administration Mt. Juliet TN
Heather Payne Nursing Gallatin TN
Leslie Payne Master of Sport and Exercise Science Denham Springs LA
Ashton Perez Biology Bon Aqua TN
Jessica Perry Nursing Gallatin TN
Haley Pitcock
Interdis. Stud. – Emphasis – Edu. & Hum. Develop.
Lebanon TN
Kyrie Pody Nursing Lebanon TN
Cameron Prather Master of Business Administration Nashville TN
Chasatee Price Master of Business Administration Somerville TN
Lucas Pridgen Associate of Arts in Business Gallatin TN
Pamela Propst Master of Arts in Education Cordova TN
Leona Pruett Nursing La Vergne TN
Terra Pryor
Interdis. Stud. – Emphasis – Edu. & Hum. Develop.
Lafayette TN
Pooja Puranikk Master of Business Administration Nashville TN
Cynthia Raymond RN to BSN Mt. Juliet TN
Kayla Reagan Nursing Smithville TN
Deborah Reecer Nursing Lafayette TN
Sarah Reeder Master of Arts in Teaching Brush Creek TN
Thomas Reilly Health & Human Performance Gerrards Cross Non-US
Alicia Reno Nursing Hermitage TN
Lorrie Rittenberry Nursing Shelbyville TN
Joseph Rollins Athletic Training Lebanon TN
Krista Romberger RN to BSN Palmyra PA
Sammy Rosario Psychology Cartersville GA
Nytrellis Ross Accounting Albany GA
Ariel Rowlett Nursing Lebanon TN
Whitley Rowlett Master of Arts in Teaching Mt. Juliet TN
Jordan Russ History Lebanon TN
Nicholas Sackman Athletic Training Alexandria TN
Kiley Sanson Athletic Training Goodlettsville TN
Jamie Schmitt Associate of Arts Mt. Juliet TN
Zachary Sevier Associate of Arts Pegram TN
Evelyn Shao Nursing Hermitage TN
Cayce Sharp Nursing Bon Aqua TN
Emily Shivers Nursing Dixon Springs TN
Dalton Shrum Business Administration Lafayette TN
Ethan Shrum Nursing Red Boiling Springs TN
Danna Sims English Lebanon TN
Twila Smith Master of Business Administration Nashville TN
Lisa Smith-Little Master of Arts in Education Gates TN
William Snyder Health & Human Performance Jonesborough TN
Bailey Solomon Nursing Springfield TN
Erin Spencer Nursing Lebanon TN
Alesa Steiner Athletic Training Hendersonville TN
James Stewart Business Administration Lebanon TN
Katelynn Stoll Master of Sport and Exercise Science Avon Park FL
Natalie Storey Athletic Training Bethpage TN
Brennan Swindoll Biochemistry Mt. Juliet TN
James Tankersley Master of Business Administration Nashville TN
Cole Taylor Nursing White House TN
Alyssa Thomas Nursing Murfreesboro TN
Logan Thompson Nursing Old Hickory TN
Chandra Thorpe Nursing Baxter TN
James Tiencken Master of Business Administration Jacksonville FL
April Todd Nursing Gallatin TN
Tessa Tomaselli Nursing Torrance CA
Kayla Tomlin Associate of Science Smyrna TN
Kendall Trice Health & Human Performance Whites Creek TN
Jennifer Truong Accounting Lebanon TN
Jennifer Turner Health Care Administration Old Hickory TN
Kuwane Turner Master of Arts in Teaching West Memphis AR
Josh Vardaman Master of Sport and Exercise Science Nashville TN
Hector Viera Health & Human Performance Bocono Non-US
Latishea Waggoner Master of Arts in Education Murfreesboro TN
Kayla Walling Nursing Springfield TN
Adrienne Walton RN to BSN Memphis TN
Anna-Leah Warlick Nursing Lebanon TN
Austin Watkins Nursing Athens AL
Kristian Watkins Business Administration Lebanon TN
Brandi Weaver Nursing Cookeville TN
Dayle Weslosky Accounting Edmonton Non-US
Christy West RN to BSN Seymour TN
Erica Whittemore Business Administration Lafayette TN
Ian Whittemore Business Administration Lafayette TN
Telvin Wilkerson Health & Human Performance Memphis TN
Mason Willis Master of Arts in Teaching Russellville AL
Danielle Winchester Master of Business Administration Gallatin TN
Farrah Wood Master of Sport and Exercise Science Celina TN
Jaime Wright Master of Arts in Education Memphis TN

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