By Ashley Zsedenyi, staff writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “Debt is bad; saving is good; giving is fun; and stuff is meaningless,” Jesse T. Correll, founder and chairman of the board for First Southern Bancorp Inc., told Campbellsville University’s graduates Saturday at Powell Athletic Center.
“I always wanted to be a businessman…but I only had one goal. I wanted to be extremely rich,” Correll said as he challenged graduates to “accumulate no debt” because “living paycheck to paycheck is a dangerous gamble.”
Correll is the lead donor for Campbellsville University’s FIRST CLASS program, and said he was “honored to be here today speaking to the first class who took FIRST CLASS.”
FIRST CLASS is a program of character, leadership and stewardship studies that is required by each CU freshman.
He spoke of his brother, the late Vince Correll, with whom he was a business partner and who had a “tremendous heart” and “really believed in what he believed in.”
“Be careful how you use debt, because it is bondage.
“Be slow to spend and quick to give. If you are not generous with small money, you won’t be generous with big money when God gives it to you,” he said.
“Stuff will not make us happy,” Correll said. “Our relationship with God is the most important.”
Correll presented each graduate with a copy of “Your Money Counts” by Howard Dayton. He also was presented an honorary doctorate of public service.
A total of 311 students received academic degrees upon completion of all graduation requirements during two spring commencement ceremonies. There were 101 master’s degrees conferred in the graduate ceremony May 8 in the Ransdell Chapel, and 210 undergraduate degrees conferred in the commencement May 9 in Powell Athletic Center.
Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, said to graduates at the undergraduate walk, “Life is about change. This is one of those major thresholds. It represents many things.”
The undergraduate walk is a tradition that allows students to take one last walk around campus.
“My prayer is that today be a day that you will look back on as a day of achievement and one where you felt a blessed sense of appreciation for all those who have worked to help make this day possible for you,” Carter said during commencement.
Carter congratulated the students for their accomplishments and for the sacrifices they and their families have made to “reach this important milestone in your life and educational career.”
He thanked and welcomed the faculty and staff, CU alumni and friends of the university who give of their time and resources to “keep the university moving forward.”
“No college or university can ever be better than its faculty,” said Dr. Michael Edward Arrington, executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, as he addressed the master’s students May 8 in the Ransdell Chapel.
“You are the heart and soul of Campbellsville, and I thank you for your strong commitment to these students and for responding so faithfully to your call to Christian higher education. Without your sacrificial call, this celebration of academic achievement tonight would not be possible.”
Arrington said students are the “most important people,” and they “are the reason the college or university exists.”
He quoted from John 10:10 and urged the graduates to “live an abundant life.”
“Your degree from Campbellsville will remain as a testament to your commitment to quality, to your passion for truth and to your desire to make a difference in this world.”
“It is my prayer that your life will be artful, amazing and awesome. May God bless you abundantly,” Arrington said.
Miranda Ray Denney, a master of arts in education graduate from Somerset, Ky., gave the graduate response to the charge.
“Campbellsville University has transformed us from undergraduates to masters in our fields,” Denney said.
“Our lives have been molded and our paths made clear because of Campbellsville University,” she said. “We will give back (to CU) because CU made us who we are.”
Nicole Michelle Wilcox, a bachelor of social work graduate from Vine Grove, Ky., gave the undergraduate response to the charge.
“Our lives will never be the same because of our time here at CU,” Wilcox said.
“No matter what memories you have when you leave this place we all share one – our graduation today. Remember what you learned here and take it with you.”
Campbellsville University presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to Mark Johnson of Campbellsville, as the community recipient; and Shajuana Ditto of Brandenburg, Ky., as the recipient of the student award.
“Mark is a true servant of humanity in many ways – as a banker, a visionary community leader, church member, husband and father,” Carter said. “He has been a community leader and involved in a number of organizations.”
Johnson, who is chief executive officer of Citizens Bank and Trust Co. in Campbellsville is “a deserving recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for 2009 in recognition of his service to Campbellsville University and the greater community,” Carter said.
Johnson is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. He received his bachelor of science in accounting degree from the University of Kentucky, attended Centre College, and is a graduate of Bowling Green High School. He and his wife Lateshia, who is a registered nurse, have two teenage daughters, Lauren and Meredith.
Of the student recipient, Carter said, “Shajuana’s smile, warm spirit, involvement in several organizations on campus and work ethic leave an indelible and lasting imprint upon the faculty, staff, coaches and student body of this institution.”
She is the daughter of John and Lawanna Ditto of Brandenburg.
Receiving a bachelor of science in sports ministry with a minor in athletic coaching, Ditto served in a number of leadership positions on campus and in the community.
She was the 2007 CU Homecoming Queen, and was named to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” for 2008-2009. Ditto also received the Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award and the Sports Ministry Award at Campbellsville University’s Honors and Awards Day recently.
This is the seventh consecutive year the awards have been given from Campbellsville University in “this very prestigious awards program that honors the memory and legacy of the late Algernon Sydney Sullivan,” Carter said.
He said there are some 50 colleges and universities in the South that are approved by the Sullivan Foundation to annually present these awards to one graduating senior and to one adult.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan was a lawyer, devout Christian, mediator, powerful and appealing orator, a courageous citizen during perilous times, a noted philanthropist and a devoted family man. In the words of a friend, Sullivan “reached out both hands in constant helpfulness to others.”
The numbers of students, and their degrees, who graduated include: 18 associate of nursing; 10 associate of science; nine bachelor of arts; 11 bachelor of music; 127 bachelor of science; 27 bachelor of science in business administration; and eight bachelor of social work.
Master’s degrees conferred include: six master of arts in education; 12 master of arts in music; 47 master of arts in special education; two master of arts in social science; nine master of business administration; one master of music in music education; two master of science in counseling; and nine master of theology; eight master of arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; four master of music in performance; and one master of music in piano pedagogy.
Valedictorian was Amanda Michelle Filipp of Versailles, Ky., who maintained a 4.0 grade point average.
Co-salutatorians were Mallory Lauren Farquhar of Columbus, Ohio, and Paige Nichole Hall of Greensburg, Ky., both with a GPA of 3.976.
Campbellsville University awarded 137 degrees during the fall 2008 commencement, for a total number of 448 graduates in 2008-2009.
The graduate commencement featured Dr. M. Wesley Roberts on the organ and the CU Trio including Sung-Man Lee, Wansoo Cho and Hana Park presenting special music. Dr. Pat Cowherd, dean of the School of Business and Economics, gave the benediction, and Miranda Ray Denney, a master of arts in education graduate from Somerset, Ky., gave the response to the charge.
Both commencements featured Dr. C. Mark Bradley, professor of music, singing the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” and the alma mater; Dr. Jay Conner, chair of the CU Board of Trustees giving the invocation; and Ginger Shely Warren, (’02), president of the CU Alumni Association, installing the alumni.
The undergraduate commencement featured the Campbellsville University Brass Ensemble playing “Pomp and Circumstance” for the processional and “Hornpipe” from “Water Music” for the recessional. Dr. David Morris, member of the CU Board of Trustees, gave the benediction; and Nicole Michelle Wilcox, a bachelor of social work graduate from Vine Grove, Ky., and senior class president, gave the response to the charge.
Campbellsville University 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 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.