Cumberland University’s 176th convocation ceremony took place on Wednesday in the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center. Members of the board of trust, students, faculty, staff and community friends made up the more than 1,800 gathered to officially kick off the academic year.
W.P. Bone, III, chairman of the board of trust, was the macebearer and led the processional of deans and University administration dressed in regalia. President Stumb, Dr. Natalie Inman as the outgoing faculty senate president, University Chaplain Dr. Mike Ripski, and Student Government Association President Claudia Tepox offered words of inspiration and encouragement. Dr. Stumb, in his speech, gave the students a “call to connect.” The ceremony was rounded out by the recitation of the Cumberland Creed and singing the alma mater.
A new tradition began with this convocation ceremony that is centered around a massive new University fire pit, called the “Heart of the Phoenix,” built by Rick Wittrig of Fire Pit Art in Lebanon. Students, faculty and staff wrote on paper any fear or concern they have about completing their education or achieving their dreams, then placed them in the fire pit to burn.
Student athletes and freshman have already been participating in fall practice and orientation activities while all upperclassmen have recently returned to campus just in time for the first day of classes.
This year’s enrollment class marks the largest in school history. Official enrollment figures will be made available in a few weeks.