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MTSU’s August grads will join historic Class of ’2...

MTSU’s August grads will join historic Class of ’20 at 2nd virtual commencement

Melisa Warner, center, assistant manager of MTSU's Phillips Bookstore, helps August graduate Autumn Martin get her cap and gown Friday, July 31, on the first day students could pick up their

Many of MTSU‘s anticipated 804 summer 2020 graduates began preparing for their at-home celebrations for the university’s second virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 8, by picking up their regalia July 31, as soon as it was available.

University President Sidney A. McPhee announced in June that MTSU would mark the Class of 2020’s accomplishments again with an online ceremony, continuing to follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations against large public gatherings.

The summer livestreamed event will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 8 at on MTSU’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Both will be accessible at www.mtsu.edu/virtual-graduation.

Melisa Warner, center, assistant manager of MTSU's Phillips Bookstore, helps August graduate Autumn Martin get her cap and gown Friday, July 31, on the first day students could pick up their "True Blue Graduation Box" and commencement regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present almost 800 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Melisa Warner, center, assistant manager of MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore, helps August graduate Autumn Martin get her cap and gown Friday, July 31, the first day students could pick up their “True Blue Graduation Box” and commencement regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present more than 800 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

All the graduates’ names, along with academic honors and special recognition, will be included in an on-screen running scroll during the ceremony.

Each of the summer 2020 graduates can pick up a “True Blue Graduation Box” through Friday, Aug. 7, at Phillips Bookstore.

The box, shown below, will include the graduate’s MTSU diploma cover, a mortarboard with a unique blue 2020 tassel, special MTSU gifts, two commemorative programs plus an invitation to a future on-campus commencement, and the graduate’s appropriate Latin Honors and/or University Honors College regalia and master’s or doctoral degree hood.

A display in the lobby of MTSU's Student Services and Admissions Center shows the contents of the "True Blue Graduation Box," which includes a diploma, special tassel and other gifts. The boxes are being provided for summer 2020 graduates after MTSU canceled its traditional commencement ceremonies at Murphy Center for a second time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university is conducting a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 8. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

A display in the lobby of MTSU’s Student Services and Admissions Center shows the contents of the “True Blue Graduation Box,” which includes a diploma cover, special tassel and other gifts. MTSU is providing the boxes for summer 2020 graduates after canceling its traditional commencement ceremonies at Murphy Center for a second time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university is conducting a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 8. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Free graduation gowns also will be available at the bookstore with the graduates’ boxes. Students who can’t pick up their boxes in person can receive them by mail, and each box will include a link to order a graduation gown.

Diplomas will be mailed to each graduate in late August. More details for graduates are available at www.mtsu.edu/grades-and-transcripts/graduation.php.

On Aug. 8, after words of encouragement from McPhee and University Provost Mark Byrnes and other guests, MTSU School of Agriculture associate professor Justin Gardner will serve as the summer ceremony’s guest speaker.

His address continues the university’s tradition of offering the graduates a salute from their professors, represented by the year’s departing MTSU Faculty Senate president.

Gardner, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and his doctorate in agricultural and consumer economics from the University of Illinois, joined the MTSU faculty in 2007 to teach agribusiness. His courses include agricultural finance, international trade, economics, commodity futures markets, cooperatives, agribusiness management, and value-added agriculture.

Dr. Justin Gardner, School of Agriculture associate professor

Dr. Justin Gardner

His research interests range from the economic and environmental impacts of genetically modified crops to agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ markets. This past year has offered an unexpected opportunity for more thorough study of one of his favorite research subjects: student success in online classes.

MTSU awarded its 150,000th degree during its spring 2020 commencement, which marked the university’s first virtual ceremony. Since its inaugural 1911-12 academic year, MTSU has presented 150,163 students with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Like all MTSU commencements, the summer 2020 ceremony is accessible to the public at no charge. The university will provide closed-captioning services during the virtual event.

“We’ll never forget our class of summer 2020 graduates,” McPhee said. “They’ve endured a true crisis to cross this educational finish line. They missed out on triumphant shared experiences like receiving well-deserved congratulations from a trusted professor at the end of a final course, or a hug from a longtime classmate or, perhaps most poignantly, the formal ceremony to commemorate their achievement.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, prepares to introduce university Provost Mark Byrnes, right, to present spring 2020 degree candidates inside the lobby of the university's Cope Administration Building while they tape MTSU's virtual commencement ceremony to air Saturday, May 9. MTSU formally presented 2,519 students with degrees in an online event arranged to celebrate their accomplishments during the pandemic. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, prepares to introduce university Provost Mark Byrnes, right, to present spring 2020 degree candidates inside the lobby of the university’s Cope Administration Building while they tape MTSU’s virtual commencement ceremony in May. MTSU will conduct its second virtual commencement Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate the accomplishments of the summer Class of 2020. (MTSU file photo by Andrew Oppmann)

“This was to be their time to shine in front of everyone. … They did more than complete their education online; they helped us all survive and flourish amidst a crisis. We’ll salute them as the special group of individuals that they are, who … crossed this finish line with grace and composure.”

More information about the Aug. 8 ceremony is available at www.mtsu.edu/virtual-graduation.

The university Registrar’s Office reports that the summer 2020 group comprises 804 prospective graduates, including 577 undergraduates and 227 graduate students. The latter number includes 204 master’s candidates, 11 education-specialist degree recipients and 12 doctoral candidates. Five graduate students also will receive certificates.

Updated MTSU graduation information — including links to the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at http://mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

MTSU will begin its 2020-21 academic year on Monday, Aug. 24, when fall 2020 classes begin.

The semester will be a mix of remote-learning, online, in-person and hybrid courses, and classes will end Nov. 25. Masks will be required in all indoor public settings.

For status updates on MTSU, visit http://mtsu.edu/coronavirus.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU August graduate Mayowa Adeniyi, left, listens to Associate Registrar Cindy Johnson as they discuss Adeniyi's "True Blue Graduation Box" and commencement cap and gown Friday, July 31, on the first day students could pick up their graduation regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present almost 800 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU August graduate Mayowa Adeniyi, left, listens to Associate Registrar Cindy Johnson as they discuss Adeniyi’s “True Blue Graduation Box” and commencement cap and gown Friday, July 31, the first day students could pick up their graduation regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present 804 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Melisa Warner, right, assistant manager of MTSU's Phillips Bookstore, hands August graduate Kaitlyn McCord her cap and gown Friday, July 31, on the first day students could pick up their "True Blue Graduation Box" and commencement regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present almost 800 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Melisa Warner, right, assistant manager of MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore, hands August graduate Kaitlyn McCord her cap and gown Friday, July 31, on the first day students could pick up their “True Blue Graduation Box” and commencement regalia in the Student Union. MTSU will present 804 summer 2020 graduates with degrees during a virtual commencement, set Saturday, Aug. 8, to celebrate their accomplishments. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)


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