Campbellsville University graduates 1,189 students, largest in history for December commencement

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Ariel Emberton, left, a co-valedictorian, poses with one of her professors, Stan McKinney, after commencement. Emberton is a Bachelor of Science graduate in History and Mass Communication/Journalism and is from Tompkinsville, Ky. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams.)

By Joan C. McKinney, director, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Gratitude and thanks were words often spoken by Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, as he challenged 1,189 undergraduate and graduate students in two commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 6, in the largest December commencement in the history of CU.

The number of the graduates was a 75 percent increase over one year ago.

Degrees are conferred for the graduates upon completion of all requirements for graduation.

Carter urged the graduates to thank those who have helped them on their educational journeys. He told the students they have not been on the journey alone and told them to express gratitude to their families and friends who helped and prayed for them as they reached this milestone in their careers.

He said Campbellsville University is in her fourth consecutive year of no increase in tuition and even noted some programs had a decrease in tuition. He said Campbellsville University is committed to making higher education affordable.

“Today is a day of joy,” he told the graduates. “I hope your heart is full of gratitude,” he said.

He spoke of the three words on the university’s seal: Fellowship, Leadership and Scholarship. He said Fellowship’s intent is to realize no matter who you are, where you were born, your ethnic origin and position in life – all people have worth.

He said, “Every human’s life has value and is to be treated with grace, dignity and care.”

He said true leadership, he believes, is when individuals inspire others to perform at a level they never thought possible. That leader “brings out the best in others” and puts others first. He said those values are reflected in the Gospels of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Carter said Scholarship is a never-ending phenomenon in today’s world, and he urged the graduates to be problem solvers and to improve the world by their scholarship.

“Graduates, as you finish, be people who embrace the grace of being human,” Carter said. He quoted John 10:10 when Christ said he had come so that everyone may have life more abundantly.

“God bless you and may you have thankful hearts,” he said.

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Stephen Bundrant of Louisville, Ky. expresses excitement upon receiving his Master of Theology degree. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

In response to Carter’s 2 p.m. ceremony’s charge, Ariel C. Emberton, a Bachelor of Science History and Mass Communication/Journalism graduate from Tompkinsville, Ky., urged the graduates to follow Carter’s charge and one given to her by her father.

Emberton recounted her father telling her, “You’re born with one thing, you die with one thing, and it’s up to you as to what you make of it – your name.”

“Remember, you are in charge of your own destiny. You get to decide how history remembers your name. I challenge you to strive to be the absolute best version of yourself, someone your children and grandchildren, but most importantly, your younger self, would be proud of.”

Emberton said, “Campbellsville University has been good to each of us. Now it’s our turn to go out and be good to Campbellsville University.”

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Chirag Valand of India holds his diploma on the Ransdell Chapel lawn in front of the university’s Christmas tree. He received a Master of Science in Information Technology Management degree. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Emberton was one of the five co-valedictorians of the Class of 2019. Others were Chandler Jacob Dunn of Glasgow, Ky., who received a Bachelor of Science in Biology; Ashlyn Nicole Flock of Charleston, Tenn., who received a Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education 5-9; Abraham Varghese of India, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems and Accounting; Olivia Nicole Weeks of Campbellsville, who received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education/Primary-5; and Amanda L. Collins of Louisville, Ky., who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.

In the 4 p.m. ceremony, Joel Steele, who received a Master of Science in Computer Science, said, “After all is said and done, standing here in front of you, I can say that our hard work truly meant something, and these degrees we take with us are not only a sign that we have taken some quizzes and written some papers.

“These degrees are proof that we have the ability to finish what we start, that we won’t be satisfied without aiming for something greater, and that we are committed to never stop learning both in education and in our faith.”

Steele told the graduates, “We are not done, and there is still work to do once we leave.”

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Paulette Simms of Louisville talks with a friend after her commencement. She received a Bachelor of Social Work graduate. (Campbellsville University Photo by Chosalin Morales)

Ashley Farmer, director of alumni relations told the graduates, “From this day forward, you will be called upon to take on a new role – the role of graduate. And yes, being ‘called upon’ sometimes means making a financial contribution, but it also has other meanings.”

She said the graduates may be called upon to recruit new students and continue a trend of record setting enrollment.

“Or maybe you are called to reach back to campus and share your insights and encourage those who are yet to finish,” she said. “Whatever that calling may be, I encourage you to stay connected.”

She closed with a quote from Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, presented the graduates. Henry Lee, chair of the CU Board of Trustees, gave the invocation at both ceremonies.

Dr. Tony Cunha, dean of the School of Music and professor of music, led the congregational music, and Dr. Wesley Roberts, professor of music, played the organ.

Dr. Justy Engle, assistant professor of English, who serves as chair of the Faculty Forum, gave the benediction at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Dr. Lisa Allen, dean of the School of Education and associate professor of education, gave the benediction at the 4 p.m. ceremony.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 14,000 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region.  The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.

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Danielle Manning of Campbellsville laughs with friends following commencement. She received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. (Campbellsville University Photo by Chosalin Morales)
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Lora Simpkins of Beauty, Ky. receives her degree from Campbellsville University President Michael V. Carter as her husband, John, helps her. She received a Master of Social Work degree. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
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Marco Murillo of San Luis Obispo, Calif. participates in the Graduate Walk before receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
Campbellsville University graduates 1,189 students, largest in history for December commencement
Jacob Herron plays with a graduation cord belonging to his aunt, Makayla Turner of Campbellsville. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education/Primary-5. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
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Matthew Billiot straightens his tassel before the Graduate Walk. Billiot received a bachelor of arts degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations. He is from Madisonville, La. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)