Three hundred and twenty-nine students earned degrees Saturday morning during the spring commencement at Tusculum College.
Twenty-four students earned master of arts degrees in rganizational management. Earning bachelor of arts degrees were 174 students. One hundred and ten earned bachelor of science degrees in organizational management.
Speaking on behalf of the Class of 2007 during the ceremony were Keith Graybeal and Leanne Lietzke.
Graybeal challenged his fellow graduates to show compassion in whatever career fields they pursue because that compassion and kindness are what people remember.
Leanne Lietzke, who earned a bachelor of arts degree, said she had thought about what she would say to her fellow graduates and decided she did not want to deliver the typical commencement speech offering advice to those earning their degrees.
Rather, she said, she wanted to wish her fellow graduates the best in life, but also the bad times. While the good in life is to be enjoyed, Lietzke said, the difficulties provide individuals the opportunities to learn and grow to become better people.
“It’s a story, and it’s yours, and whatever happens, just make sure you feel your life,” she said.
In his baccalaureate address, campus chaplain Dr. Stephen Weisz told the graduates that their answers to two simple questions, who are you and what are you doing, can make a significant difference in the lives of others.
Weisz read a passage of the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus told his followers, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” He told the graduates that they can reflect God’s compassion and love to everyone they meet.
“You will always have people around you who long to know they matter and that they make a difference to someone,” he said. “If they can see in you kindness and thoughtfulness, it will make them feel much better about who they are.”
Weisz challenged the graduates to spend some time each day contemplating the questions of who they are and what they are doing. “If who we are and what we do is for the sake of others, we will be reflections of God,” he said.
Also addressing the graduates were Tusculum President Dr. Dolphus E. Henry and Susan Vance, director of development and alumni relations and acting vice president of institutional advancement at the College.
The graduates were led into Pioneer Arena for the commencement ceremony by seven members of the Tusculum College Class of 1957, this year’s “Golden Pioneer” (50-year anniversary) class. Wearing gold robes and caps, the Golden Pioneers also led the new graduates out of the arena as the ceremony ended.
Participating in the ceremony were Class of 1957 members Mary Sue Brakebill, Ralph Horne, Jack Kilday, Zella Malone, Tessie McCorkle, and Rome Weems, Jr., who are all from the Greene County area, and Jim de Baun, from South Carolina. They were recognized during the ceremony by Dr. Henry.
Conferring the degrees to the graduates were Dr. Henry and Dr. Kimberly K. Estep, provost and academic vice president.
Tusculum College, the oldest college in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, is a civic arts institution committed to developing educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. Twenty-nine hundred and thirty-eight students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and nine off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.