Lee News

Dirksen to Speak at May 5 Commencement


Lee University’s Dr. Carolyn Dirksen will deliver the address at the university’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5, at 9:30 a.m. on the South Campus Quad (between School of Nursing and School of Business). This will be the first graduation ceremony to take place at this location.

Dirksen is completing a fifty-year career on the Lee faculty. She came to Lee in 1968 as an instructor in English and currently serves as the director of faculty development. Prior to this, she served as the chair of the Department of Language & Literature, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and vice president for academic affairs.

Dirksen was the recipient of Lee’s first Excellence in Teaching Award and has also received the Excellence in Scholarship Award. Recently, she was awarded the 2018 Dr. Charles W. Conn Servant Leadership Award, given for exemplary work in service learning.

Carolyn Dirksen
Dr. Carolyn Dirksen

According to Lee president Paul Conn, Dirksen “has played a major role in Lee’s evolution from small private college to comprehensive liberal arts university.” She served as co-chair of the Core Revision Task Force in 1995, leading the way for a dramatically revised general education requirement that included an extensive cross-cultural experience for every student. She will retire from full-time service on June 30.

Lee’s newest female dorm, Dirksen Row, was named in 2017 to honor her and her husband, Dr. Murl Dirksen, for their leadership in the academic life of Lee and their service to the campus.

In addition to her work at Lee, Dirksen also serves on the World Missions Board of the Church of God and has been named honorary professor at both Henan University and Sias University in the Peoples Republic of China.

She holds the Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics from the University of Arizona and the Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Arizona University.

Graduation festivities will begin with a hooding ceremony for students earning graduate degrees. This service is a ticketed event and will take place in the Lee University Chapel on Friday, May 4, at 4:30 p.m.

After the hooding ceremony on May 4, all graduates will march in the commissioning service at 6:30 p.m. on the South Campus Quad lawn. During commissioning, six graduates will share stories of their Lee experiences, one graduate will perform special music, and all graduates will receive Bibles to commemorate this personal milestone. A reception at the School of Religion for guests and graduates will follow the service.

The commissioning and commencement ceremonies will not require tickets unless inclement weather shifts the ceremonies inside the Paul Dana Walker Arena, where seating is limited. Overflow seating for both services will also be available. 544 degrees are set to be conferred, of which 475 are undergraduate and 69 are graduate.

The hooding, commissioning, and commencement will be available for live stream viewing.

For more information about commencement exercises, contact the Academic Events Office at academicevents@leeuniversity.edu or (423) 614-8117 or visit graduation.
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