Trevecca Nazarene University

Commencement 2013

For twenty-one years Trevecca had had a rain plan for commencement, and for twenty-one years it had not been needed; however, the inclement weather during the first week of May—with even more predicted for May 5, commencement day—required the implementation of the rain plan. The main commencement program was presented to groups of graduates and their families in the convocation center in the Boone Business Building and was live-streamed to other locations on campus, where graduates of other programs and their guests were gathered, and to two auditoriums, which served as “overflow” locations for guests.

The rain plan did not keep students from celebrating commencement with friends who were graduating from other programs. Evans Knowles explained how she and two friends connected in spite of the rain plan: “With the rain plan splitting up groups by degrees, Katelyn Sharpes and I were not able to be in the same building as our best friend, Devon Eby, so we called her on FaceTime to talk for a couple minutes before the ceremony began. We were sad that the rain kept us from walking across the same stage but thankful for technology that let us be together in a small way.”

Following Trevecca’s tradition, the challenge to graduates was given by a faculty member with responses coming from three graduates, each a representative of a specific group of graduates. Joe Cole, chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, challenged graduates to “enjoy what God enjoys in you” by finding “wholeness in living”—not as an achievement but as the kind of wholeness that comes from a life lived for God.

Three graduates responded to that call for wholeness. Samantha McDonald ’13, representing traditional undergraduates, affirmed that Trevecca gives students the “tools” for wholeness. Amy Hammons ’13, responding for graduates of the adult degree-completion programs, explained how her experience in Trevecca’s MHR Program had provided her accountability and had helped her see that she truly was a part of the “whole body of Christ.” Sherman Bucher ’13, representing the graduates of all graduate programs, asked graduates to view commencement day as a “commissioning to serve” and to base their lives on finding ways “to benefit others and not look for the ways others can benefit us.”

The ceremonies also included the conferring of special honors. The University awarded Charles Davis ’70, chairman of the Trevecca Board of Trustees and a member of that body for 31 years, the Lyla T. Mackey Diakonos Award for his extraordinary service to the University community and to Christian higher education. The first recipient of this award and the person for whom it was named was Lyla T. Mackey, a member of the Trevecca faculty from 1935 to 1972. Davis, the third person to receive this award, has distinguished himself in his career as a lawyer and judge and in his service to the Church of the Nazarene. The Citizenship Award, the highest honor given to a Trevecca student, was awarded to Michael Stocks ’13 for the way he modeled dependability, academic accomplishments, enthusiasm, Christian character, and integrity during his years at Trevecca.