Lee News

Dirksen Encourages Grads at Saturday's Commencement

Lee University held its centennial graduation ceremonies Saturday with veteran Lee faculty and administrator Dr. Carolyn Dirksen delivering the commencement address. Appearing before a record number of graduates, their friends and families, and many others from the Lee community, Dirksen made her speech to the crowd at a new outdoor venue on the South Campus Quad.

Dirksen Adresses Grads
Dr. Carolyn Dirksen addresses graduates at Commencement.

In introducing Dirksen, Lee President Paul Conn said, "On our Centennial, there can be no more appropriate speaker than Carolyn Dirksen, who has spent 50 years of those 100 working at Lee. In addition to the many roles she has served in over these years, she has created and perfectly expresses the Lee University mindset. She is a treasured colleague, and she loves you students dearly. She IS Lee University."

In her address, reflecting on the milestone for each graduate, along with Lee's centennial and her own professional milestone, Dirksen said that standing at the nexus of these three things, she was honored to be the one to encourage them. "For all of us who work here at Lee, you graduates are our final exam, and knowing so many of you who are finishing today, we deserve an A," she said.

Dirksen completes her 50-year career at the university this month. She has served as an English professor, Department of Language & Literature chair, College of Arts & Sciences dean, vice president for academic affairs, and most recently as the director of faculty development.

She was the first recipient of Lee’s Excellence in Teaching Award and later received the Excellence in Scholarship Award.

Graduates March in

Most recently, she was awarded the 2018 Dr. Charles W. Conn Servant Leadership Award, recognizing her contribution to Lee’s service learning and Global Perspectives program.

More than 540 degrees were conferred at Saturday’s graduation, 69 of which were for graduate studies. Saturday's ceremony was preceded by a hooding for students earning master's degrees and a commissioning service on Friday night, which featured six student speakers sharing their “Lee experience.”

To view the graduation events in full, visit LiveStream
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