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1,750-plus MTSU grads will celebrate new degrees D...

1,750-plus MTSU grads will celebrate new degrees Dec. 14 at commencement

New graduates celebrate at MTSU’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony Aug. 10 in Murphy Center. Photos show, from left, two young men with their arms around each other, two photos of young women with their hands in the air, a photo of a young woman clasping her hands together and smiling, and a young man taking a selfie with his other hand in the air. MTSU's fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU photos by J. Intintoli and GradImages.com)

More than 1,750 MTSU students are preparing to take on the world with hard-earned degrees in hand after the university’s fall 2019 commencement ceremonies, set Saturday, Dec. 14, in Hale Arena inside Murphy Center.

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and afternoon speaker for MTSU’s fall 2019 commencement Saturday, Dec. 14

Dr. Belle Wheelan

Country singer and former MTSU student Chris Young (photo courtesy www.chrisyoungcountry.com)

Chris Young

The morning ceremony, which will begin at 9 a.m. Dec. 14, will feature a special commencement address from former student Chris Young, a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a multiplatinum-selling country music entertainer, for graduates in the College of Graduate Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business and the College of Education.

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, will speak at the afternoon ceremony, set for 1:30 p.m. for graduates in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Media and Entertainment and the University College.

Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend in person can watch the Dec. 14 ceremonies live online at two sites: http://facebook.com/mtsublueraiders or www.mtsu.edu/live.

The university will provide closed-captioning services for the live video streams as well as American Sign Language interpretation on-site at the ceremonies.

Live coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts. Each ceremony should last around two hours.

The university Registrar’s Office reports that 1,759 students are preparing to graduate from MTSU this fall, including 1,502 undergraduates and 257 graduate students. The latter number includes 235 master’s candidates, eight education-specialist degree recipients and 14 doctoral candidates.

Three graduate students and 12 undergraduates also will receive certificates for their advanced study.

An official program listing MTSU’s fall 2019 graduates is available here as a PDF.

Two members of MTSU’s Class of 2019 congratulate each other on reaching their goals Aug. 10 during the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony in Murphy Center. MTSU's fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Two members of MTSU’s Class of 2019 congratulate each other on reaching their goals Aug. 10 during the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony in Murphy Center. MTSU’s fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. A special map with parking and shuttle information for commencement day is available by clicking here, and a seating chart of Murphy Center, including access for guests who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues, is available here.

Morning speaker Young, who attended MTSU in 2005, has already achieved over 2 billion career streams, sold 12 million singles and released 17 RIAA-certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum projects. His “Raised On Country World Tour” played to over 400,000 fans in three countries and 35 U.S. states in 2019.

His eleven No. 1 hits include “Hangin’ On,” his ninth top hit as a songwriter; “Sober Saturday Night” featuring Vince Gill; and “I’m Comin’ Over,” his first double-platinum single.

Young has long maintained his ties to the university. He donated a selection of his touring audio equipment in 2012 to be used for event production services and created an annual scholarship for recording industry students in 2016. Earlier this year, the university announced that it would name a renovated entertainment venue on campus for the Murfreesboro native to recognize his continued support for MTSU.

A member of MTSU’s Class of 2019, wearing a customized mortarboard reading “I broke free on a Saturday morning!”, proudly holds her new university degree and program as she leaves Murphy Center Aug. 10 after the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony. MTSU's fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

A member of MTSU’s Class of 2019, wearing a customized mortarboard reading “I broke free on a Saturday morning!”, proudly holds her new university degree and program as she leaves Murphy Center Aug. 10 after the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony. MTSU’s fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Afternoon speaker Wheelan, whose career in education spans more than 40 years, is the first woman and the first African American person to lead the Southern Association’s Commission. She’s served as a faculty member, university provost, community college president and the secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia, to name only a few of her roles.

She is an alumna of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she earned her bachelor’s degree with dual majors in psychology and sociology; Louisiana State University, where she received a master’s degree in developmental educational psychology; and the University of Texas, where she earned her doctorate in educational administration.

Wheelan’s lengthy list of career accolades includes six honorary degrees; Distinguished Graduate Awards from Trinity University and the University of Texas College of Education; inclusion in Washingtonian Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C.” list; the American Association of University Women’s Woman of Distinction Award; and the John Hope Franklin Award from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine for outstanding leadership in higher education.

Her extensive memberships include Rotary International and the boards of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges and American College Testing Inc. She also was an appointee to the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ Community College Honorary Board.

A newly minted group of MTSU’s Class of 2019 proudly display their degrees as they prepare to leave Murphy Center Aug. 10 after the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony. MTSU's fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

A newly minted group of MTSU’s Class of 2019 proudly display their degrees as they prepare to leave Murphy Center Aug. 10 after the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony. MTSU’s fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

University officials are urging guests to arrive early to ease traffic congestion around Murphy Center and help ensure comfortable seating for everyone inside Hale Arena. Driving directions are available at http://mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

Graduation information — including links to maps and driving directions to MTSU, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — also is available anytime at http://mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

The university will be closed for winter break Dec. 24-Jan. 1, and offices will reopen Thursday, Jan. 2. MTSU’s spring 2020 semester classes will begin Tuesday, Jan. 21.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)


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