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Campbellsville University graduates 1,027 students in first virtual commencement ceremony; recognizes first Ph.D. graduates

Campbellsville University graduates 1,027 students in first virtual commencement ceremony; recognizes first Ph.D. graduates
Parish Howell Jr. speaks on behalf of the December 2020 graduating class for the virtual commencement ceremony. Following his speech, Howell smiled, moved his arms side to side and said “We did it. We did it.”

By Ariel C. Emberton, staff writer/photographer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “Be bold, be courageous and be yourself,” Parish Howell Jr., a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education graduate of Norfolk, Va., said during his speech for Campbellsville University’s December 2020 commencement ceremony.

Howell was asked to speak on behalf of the graduating class in the first virtual commencement ceremony which aired on Campbellsville University’s Facebook page Dec. 18.

He said during his time at Campbellsville the

campus community taught him how to be three things: bold, courageous and himself.

“Something else they taught me was that wherever you go, whether it be tomorrow, the next day or a couple years down the line, go there with all your heart — 100%,” Howell said.

Howell said fear has driven him to more success because it allowed him to reach more than he ever imagined he could both on the football field, in the classroom and when making friends.

“It’s allowed me to grow as a servant leader at Campbellsville University and Campbellsville University has taught me that servant leadership is a great way to make friends, and it’s a great way to showcase what God has done for us,” Howell said.

He encouraged graduates to get used to their new normal because with normal comes change and if opportunity doesn’t come knocking, build a door.

Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “Our graduates have worked really hard over the last few years to get to this moment and we wanted to have something special for you as we celebrate our graduates.”

Ashley Fox, director of alumni relations, welcomed the new graduates into the diverse and proud family that makes up Campbellsville University’s Alumni Association. “As a graduate, you now have a network of over 17,000 alumni that spans many states and countries. You will always be a part of this community.

“Campbellsville University is in your story, your successes and your experiences. We are so proud of what all you’ve accomplished and hope to be a resource today and in the years to come.”

Rusty Hollingsworth, vice president for student services and athletics, congratulated the graduates on their perseverance during their time at Campbellsville University. He challenged them to go and do great things in this world.

Henry Lee, chair of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees, led the opening prayer, and Dr. Terry Wilder, director of the Master of Divinity program, led the closing prayer.

The video featured Campbellsville University students singing a variety of songs including “Campbellsville, We Love Thee” and “God Will Take Care of You.”

Students were recognized in the video with a photo, degree level, name, degree area and their hometown. Those recognized for receiving their bachelor’s degree were also recognized for being summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude, an honors student, valedictorian and salutatorian.

The ceremony featured Campbellsville University’s first group of Ph.D. graduates. They received their doctorate Ph.D. in Management.

Those who received this degree are as follows:

Gwendolyn Blue of Louisville, Ky.; Rebecca Cecil of Finchville, Ky.; Brooke Dickinson of Thompsons Station, Tenn.; Khaled Falah of Oakton, Va.; Jennifer Graham of Campbellsville, Ky.; John Kenney of Murrieta, Calif.; Brent Rowe of Danville, Ky.; Choe Sergent of Hustonville, Ky.; and Robert Coleman of Danville, Ky.

Valedictorians were as follows:

Sydney Harris of Campbellsville, Ky., who received her Bachelor of Science in Educational Ministries Area; Carson Kovalic of Winchester, Ky., who received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and Political Science;

Claire Edwards of Benton, Ky., who received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Accounting; and Beverly Thomas of Springfield, Ky., who received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Human Resource Management.

Salutatorian was Skylar Lanham of Philpot, Ky., who graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work.

Degrees were conferred by Hedgepath.

Master’s degrees conferred are as follows:

Teacher Leaders Master of Arts in Education; Master of Arts in Education; Master of Arts in Teaching; Master of Arts in School Counseling; Master of Arts in Music; Master of Arts in School Improvement; Teacher Leader Master of Arts in Special Education; Master of Arts in Special Education; Master of Arts in Sport Management; Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; Master of Business Administration;

Professional Master of Business Administration; Master in Management/Leadership; Master in Marriage and Family Therapy; Master of Music in Music Education; Master of Science in Computer Science; Master of Science in Justice Studies; Master of Social Work; Master of Divinity; Master of Theology; Master of Science in Information Technology Management;

Bachelor’s degrees conferred are as follows:

Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Fine Arts; Bachelor of Music; Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Bachelor of Social Work.

Associate degree in nursing and associate of science degrees were also conferred.

The commencement video can be found on Campbellsville University’s Facebook page at

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is