Lee News

Lee Holds Record-Breaking Commencement Saturday

Graduates Line up
Graduates line up for Saturday's ceremony

Appearing before graduates, their friends and families, and many others from the Lee community, Austin Peay President Dr. Alisa White challenged graduates to “make some room” during Saturday’s commencement, the largest graduation in Lee’s history.

On this day for the record books, more than 520 degrees were conferred at Saturday’s ceremony, 80 of which were for graduate studies. Another historical aspect of the weekend’s festivities was the Pinning Ceremony for graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. In the Lee University Chapel, the School of Nursing honored its first cohort of 17 nursing graduates with a lapel pin signifying their accomplishments and an alabaster jar signifying their career ahead of pouring themselves out in service to others.

White Speaks at Commencement
Dr. White addresses graduates Saturday

During White’s address, the Lee alumna encouraged the grads to “make room” for many things: for others who are different than them, for adventure, for others who know more than them, and for self-assessment, to list a few.

“Bringing leaders in higher education to our campus to inspire our graduates is always a great pleasure,” said Lee President Dr. Paul Conn, “so bringing back one of our own graduates, who has distinguished herself across the nation, was a true delight. Even more than my pride in her selection as President at Austin Peay, I have been so proud in the last three years to hear of what a quick, positive, important impact she is making on that campus and in higher ed in the state of Tennessee.”

White is an advocate for high-impact higher education practices that promote student success. She has served as a consultant for city governments and Fortune 500 companies, offering workshops on leadership, conflict negotiation, and creative management. She has also served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler (UTT), as well as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Midwestern State University (MSU).

Prior to joining the Austin Peay faculty, White served institutions such as the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, the University of West Georgia, the University of Texas at Arlington, MSU, and UTT as a professor, department chair, graduate adviser, dean, and provost.

523 Degrees Conferred Saturday
Blaire Beamer receives diploma from Dr. Paul Conn

Other activities during the weekend included a hooding for students earning master's degrees and a Commissioning Service on Friday night, which featured six student speakers sharing their “Lee experience.” This is one of three graduation weekends at Lee each year; commencements are also held in July and December.

View the entire Commencement exercise from Saturday morning, May 6, by directing a browser to commencement video.
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