430 Graduates Receive Degrees from Campbellsville University in Largest Class in Centennial Year

By Joan C. McKinney and Linda Waggener

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s largest group of graduates received degrees during the institution’s Centennial Commencement May 4 and 5.

Degrees were awarded, upon completion of graduation requirements, by Dr. Michael V. Carter, president, and Dr. Frank D Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, to 430 students including eight associate of science, 20 bachelor of arts, 11 bachelor of music, 159 bachelor of science, 35 bachelor of science in business administration, 15 bachelor of social work, 11 master of arts in education, 27 master of arts in music, 84 master of arts in special education, four master of arts in social science, 20 master of arts in business administration, one master of music in church music, two master of music in music education, six master of science in counseling and 27 master of theology degrees.

Because of the large number of graduates and construction on the football field at Finley Stadium, the ceremonies were divided into three ceremonies – the graduate ceremony was Friday, May 4 at the Ransdell Chapel; with the bachelor of science candidates Saturday morning, May 5, and those receiving bachelor of arts, bachelor of science in business administration and bachelor of social work in the afternoon of May 5, both in Powell Athletic Center.

Donnie Gosser of Elizabethtown, Ky., and Donna Wise, women’s basketball coach at CU for the past 32 years, received honorary doctorates in Friday night’s ceremony.

Gosser received an honorary doctorate of humane letters, and Wise was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service.

Gosser has shown his “love and support of Campbellsville University through the years by generous financial support, their love of CU’s students and advocacy of the cause of Christian higher education,” said Carter.

The Gosser Fine Arts Center is named in honor of he and his wife, Anna, and another building, the Gosser Gymnasium, will be open in fall.

Wise has retired as head basketball coach but will remain as chair of the Department of Human Performance and assistant professor of physical education and athletics.

Wise has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and ranks number one in Division I women’s coaching and 12th among all NCAA and NAIA women’s basketball coaches in terms of total wins.

In presenting the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, Carter explained this is the fifth consecutive year for the honor being given by Campbellsville University.

He said there are some 50 colleges and universities in the South that are approved by the Sullivan Foundation to annually present these awards.

The award honors the memory and legacy of the late Algernon Sydney Sullivan who was a lawyer, devout Christian, mediator, powerful and appealing orator, a courageous citizen during perilous times, a noted philanthropist and a devoted family man.

Receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were Justin Watson, a graduating senior from Eddyville, Ky., and Dr. Robert S. Clark of Campbellsville, former vice president for academic affairs and dean at Campbellsville University.

Watson served as Baptist Campus Ministry president this academic year and has several on several mission teams and was a member of the Tiger Basketball team.

Clark retired from CU in 1998 after serving more than three decades of service. He is now director of missions for the Taylor County Baptist Association and was Taylor County’s Man of the Year in 2006.

“The call to respond to Christ’s leadership remains our central calling,” Carter said after his acknowledgements of the graduates and their families at all three ceremonies.

He said the theme “Find Your Calling” is more than just a marketing theme at Campbellsville University. “It expresses the very essence of what we do and who we are as a community of learners seeking to provide quality Christian higher education to women and men of all ages with an emphasis on servant leadership,” he said.

“Regardless of the academic program and the professional path pursued,” he said, “it is vital that each student come to some understanding that each of us are called to serve Christ through a lifetime of service.”

Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology at CU, presented the commencement address for the master’s ceremony. He urged the graduates to remember that CU has a tradition of being a Christ-centered institution, has a tradition of academic excellence and has a tradition of embracing challenge and change.

He told the graduates to redeem time by “remembering rightly,” “taking responsibility” and “living gracefully.”

“As you stand again at the beginning, be ready in your various spheres of influence to redeem the time to create a future where people catch a real vision of the justice, peace and joy that faithful Christian living yields,” Hurtgen said.

Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, chancellor of the University of Richmond in Virginia and a member of the CU Board of Trustees, gave the commencement address for the morning ceremony May 5. Heilman, a CU alumnus, presented a degree to his granddaughter, Corey.

Heilman, in his eightieth year, spoke about his life from growing up on a small Kentucky farm to not qualifying for a diploma after four years of high school to serving four years in the United States Marines and eventually becoming a successful leader and educator.

“How did I end up somewhere other than where my early successes, examples and ambitions suggested?” he said.

Heilman said it was at Campbellsville Junior College where he met his wife, Betty Dobbins Heilman, for whom the president’s home at CU is named, and learned what education “was all about; developing an understanding of the world and one’s place in the universe.”

Over a period of 50 years, Heilman held “every known position in higher education,” including college president.

Heilman urged the graduates to leave with enthusiasm and the ability to communicate in order to achieve the ultimate success, whatever that may be. “Don’t be surprised, as I was, if you end up somewhere else,” he said, “a place other than where you presently anticipate.”

Dr. David Morris, chairman of the CU Board of Trustees, gave the commencement address at the afternoon ceremony.

He told the graduates that leadership is the scarcest resource in the world. He encouraged them to remember that leaders place the greater good first – they self-sacrifice. “Be a thinker and be courageous,” he said.

He pointed out the three words of the university seal – fellowship, scholarship and leadership. Morris said scholarship, properly communicated and critiqued, serves as a “building block for knowledge in your chosen field. It is important.”

Fellowship, he said, “begins with you just being yourself. Leadership remains in demand today, all over the world. “Your education is never ending – so is the need for leadership. You sit positioned for the future, a future that demands leadership.”

Valedictorians of the 2007 class were: Selena G. Boblitt of Willisburg, Ky., Devon Michelle Bradley of Hillsboro, Ohio, Dana Carol Jones of Sturgis, Ky., and Charles Arthur Maisch of LaGrange, Ky. Salutatorian was Melody Denise Pope of Tipp City, Ohio.

Responding to Carter’s charge to the graduates were: the Rev. Fred Miller Jr., a master’s graduate; Korey Blake Mitchell, a bachelor of science graduate, and Corri Jermane Irving, a bachelor of social work graduate who served as president of the senior class.

Miller said he had studied, as well as worked as a staff member, under three CU presidents. Dr. W.R. Davenport taught him to “leave things better than I found them.” Dr. Kenneth W. Winters said, “sometimes good enough is.” He said Carter had taught him to have hopes and images of a better life.

Mitchell said, “CU has given me so much in life. We have been provided the ground work to be better citizens.”

Irving encouraged his peers to “work hard with integrity and never give up.”

Installing alumni at the Friday ceremony was Ginger Shely Warren, class of 2000, who is serving as secretary of the CU Alumni Association, and Leah Noe Magers, class of 1995 and 1997, president of the Alumni Association, both urged the graduates to stay connected with their alma mater and to remember their friendships and memories as a student.

They welcomed the 430 graduates to the over 10,000 CU alumni.

Among those presenting music during the ceremonies were Nevalyn P. Moore, assistant professor of music, organist; Dr. Frieda Gebert, associate professor of music and associate dean of the School of Music, and director of the Campbellsville University Chorale, who performed; the Campbellsville University Brass Ensemble, directed by Dr. David McCullough, director of bands.

Giving invocations for the ceremonies were Dr. David Morris, chair of the Board of Trustees, Friday night and Saturday morning; and Dr. Pat Cowherd, dean of the School of Business and Economics, Saturday afternoon.

Benedictions were given by Dr. Brenda Priddy, dean of the School of Education for the graduate ceremony; Dr. Michael Page, professor of biology and chair of the Natural Science Division for Saturday morning; and Dr. Darlene Eastridge, dean of the Carver School of Social Work and Counseling for the Saturday afternoon ceremony.

Before commencement, Dr. Michael V. Carter, president, led the traditional Senior Walk as undergraduate students, faculty and administration met in front of Montgomery Library and walked to Powell Athletic Center for the ceremonies.

Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.

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