CU Hears General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, at Commencement with 323 Total Students Graduating

By Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the United States Marine Corps, urged Campbellsville University’s graduates to expect the unexpected, be bold and daring and to take care of others before self as he spoke to the 212 students receiving undergraduate degrees during commencement May 10 on Houchens Insurance Group (HIG) Field at Finley Stadium.

A total of 323 students received academic degrees upon completion of all graduation requirements during two commencement ceremonies Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10. There were 111 master’s degrees conferred May 9, and 212 undergraduate degrees conferred May 10.

Conway, who is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of President George W. Bush’s administration, was introduced as “one of the top military leaders in the world” by Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, chancellor of the University of Richmond, a CU alumnus and a fellow Marine.

Conway told the graduates to be “extremely proud of yourself” as he told them they had “exhibited intelligence, good judgment and persistence.” He said CU’s graduates join 18 percent of those in the United States who hold college degrees.

He told the graduates their degree would get their foot in the door; after that, he said, performance is what counts.

He said their bosses will look for novel ideas, and “Leadership will be a major factor in your success.” He urged them to take what they’ve learned at CU – educationally, socially and professionally – which will keep them in good stead.

He spoke of three “pearls of wisdom” from the Marine Corps’ book on leadership.

He told the graduates to: expect the unexpected; in the absence of orders, attack, be bold and daring, be aggressive but be smart and understand the intent of your boss; and officers eat last — to take care of those who work for you.

He told the graduates to never ask their employees to do something that you would never offer to do yourself. He said the results will mean a fierce loyalty to them and “together you can accomplish everything.”

He told the graduates they are joining a workforce with a war going on. He said the enemy will attack us again and again, and we should support the troops. “Standing between you and the enemy is a good military force. We are in good shape for a long time to come,” he said.

Conway urged the graduates to develop a more complete understanding of the threat to our country; to continue to support the troops of which 2.5 million wear a military uniform; and to thank those who have helped them get to where they are today.

“This is your day; but you didn’t get here by yourself. Graduation is a team effort,” Conway said.

Conway received an honorary doctorate ofpublic service from Dr. David Morris, chair of the CU Board of Trustees; Dr. Michael V. Carter, president; Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs; and Heilman.

“Never in history has a Marine Corps commandant visited Campbellsville, nor, to my knowledge, visited any college or university in Kentucky,” Heilman said, as he welcomed other Marines who were visiting campus.

“Only a Marine can convey the mystique of the Marine Corps,” Heilman said. “The Marine Corps was the defining experience of my life,” Heilman said. He also said he grew up in the Marine Corps.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) is the highest ranking officer

in the United States Marine Corps and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The CMC reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy.

Campbellsville University presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards to Dr. William Douglas Feltner of Greensburg, Ky., as the adult and community recipient; and Trent Elliott Creason of Campbellsville as the recipient of the student award.

“As was the case with the distinguished career of the namesake of this award, Dr. Feltner, or Doug as many of us know him, is serving humanity in many ways as a family practitioner, husband, father, church member and servant to all,” Carter said.

Feltner has served as a member of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees since 2001 where he has been a member of the student services and athletic committees. “He has been a very strong supporter of both academic and athletic programs at CU and is known for his compassion and willingness to share his medical knowledge and skills with Campbellsville University students from around the world,” Carter said.

Carter said Feltner has treated and seen on the spur of the moment many CU students, as well as many others on the spur of the moment without any payment ever expected or charged in many situations.

Of the student recipient, Carter said, “Trent’s roots run deep on this campus. He comes from a wonderful family and has spent his college years seeking to serve others, spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to truly find his calling in this place.”

He is the son of Rita Creason, director of student records at CU, and Larry Creason, instructor in criminal justice at CU.

Receiving a bachelor of science in pastoral ministries, Creason served as Baptist Campus Ministry president in 2007-08 and received the Servant Leadership Award in 2007 and Mr. Campbellsville University in April.

He is also co-valedictorian with a 4.0 grade point average.

This is the sixth 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.”

Carter, in his charge to the graduates, urged them to be proud graduates of Campbellsville University, say good words about their alma mater and carry the mantle of responsibility with the 9,000 plus alumni before them.

He spoke of fellowship, leadership and scholarship on the seal of CU, and urged the graduates to “Go forth and make fellowship, leadership and scholarship a way of life.”

Lauren Ford of Campbellsville, senior class president, said, “I want to challenge each and every one of you to take what you have learned here at Campbellsville University. Take the lessons both academically and those learned from living life to make the best of any situation.

“The road ahead may not be easy and may seem long, but I am confident that with what we have learned here will take us far.”

Shannon Thomas Clark, a two-time graduate of CU who is serving as director of alumni relations, welcomed the graduates into CU’s Alumni Association and urged them to stay in touch with their classmates and the university.

“CU was my university then and still remains my university,” she said. “Please give of your time and resources to further the mission of Campbellsville University,” she said.

The numbers of students, and their degrees, who graduated include: one associate of arts; 22 associate of nursing; nine associate of science; 22 bachelor of arts; nine bachelor of music; 118 bachelor of science; 22 bachelor of science in business administration; and nine bachelor of social work. This is the first year for graduates from the School of Nursing.

Master’s degrees were conferred on the following: 10 master of arts in education; 14 master of arts in music; 59 master of arts in special education; eight master of science in social science; nine master of business administration; one master of music in music education; five master of science in counseling; and five master of theology.

At the graduate ceremony May 9, 111 students received master’s degrees.

Dr. Dwayne Howell, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, told the graduates: “Don’t think that graduation is the end of the learning process — it is the first step to life-long learning.”

Basing his remarks on Micah 6:8, Howell told the graduates that God is constantly showing you what is good and what is required of you.

“You are to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” he said.

Those named valedictorian of the class of 2008, all of whom maintained 4.0 grade point averages were: Trent Elliott Creason of Campbellsville; Robert Carl Essler of Bowling Green, Ky.; Janna M. Jenkins Higgs of Campbellsville; and Andrew Michael Hillard of Elizabethtown, Ky.

Salutatorian was Kimberly Michelle Jones Mattingly of Campbellsville. She maintained a 3.9516 grade point average.

Carter also said the semester had been one of loss as six students died during the year. He paused with prayer for Pam McCardwell, Justin Ramsey, Pam Copley, Doris Wefwafwa, Jean Pennebaker and Lori Morrison.

At a luncheon in Conway’s honor, gifts were presented to Conway and his wife. Carter welcomed him into the CU Alumni Association.

Musical groups performing during the commencements were: the Campbellsville University Chorale; the CU Brass Ensemble, Nevalyn Moore, assistant professor of music, as organist; Juliana Moura, soprano, and Saulo de Almeida, cello. Dr. Mark Bradley, professor of music, led the hymns.

“Marine’s Hymn” was played by the CU Brass Ensemble in honor of Conway and the Marines present, and the presentation of the colors was by Inspector-Instructor Staff, 4th Tank Battalion Color Guard.

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 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 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 ninth year as president.

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