Chand to Speak at Winter Commencement

Events, Graduation, News

Lee University will welcome Dr. Samuel R. Chand to speak at the winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 10:30 a.m.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Sam Chand as our commencement speaker,” said Lee President Dr. Mark Walker. “As a successful educator and leader, he has modeled a life of pursuing one’s dreams regardless of one’s circumstances. Dr. Chand is a true example of faith, grit, and a growth mindset, an example from which our graduates will benefit greatly.” 

Dr. Sam Chand

Chand has been named in the top-30 Global Leadership Gurus list, and his singular vision for his life is to “help others succeed.” As founder and president of Dream Releaser Coaching and Dream Releaser Media and Publishing, he works as a leadership architect and change strategist, personally consulting, mentoring, and coaching pastors from some of the country’s largest churches. He regularly speaks at leadership conferences, churches, corporations, leadership roundtables, minister’s conferences, seminars, and other leadership development opportunities. 

In 1973, as a student at then Beulah Heights Bible College, Chand served as a janitor, cook, and dishwasher. In 1989, he returned to Beulah Heights University as its president. Under his leadership, the university became the country’s largest predominantly African American Christian college. Now, as president emeritus and member of the board, he continues to minister to both students and faculty at the university. 

Chand received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Education from Beulah Heights University, an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Heritage Bible College, and a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Grace Theological Seminary.

Lee’s winter commencement is one of three graduation ceremonies held each year at the university, the others being held in the spring and summer. The winter ceremony combines the music, which will be provided by Lee University Chorale, and decorations of the Christmas season with traditional commencement activities.

There will be 219 undergraduate and 32 graduate students receiving degrees in the Saturday morning ceremony. Of the 32 graduate students, four are doctoral students.

Prior to the Saturday commencement, a commissioning ceremony will be held Friday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m. The commissioning service is a special occasion for students and their families to reflect on their time at Lee, and five student speakers will share brief stories about their experiences. During the event, each graduate is presented with a personalized Bible in a traditional walk across the stage. Both services will be held in the Conn Center.

Undergraduate student speakers for the commissioning ceremony include Valerie Fuqua, a youth ministry major with a minor in communication studies; Samuel Duarte López, a digital media studies major with a minor in Spanish; and Hannah Upton, a communication major. Representing grad students are Victoria Eachus, earning her Master of Science in marriage and family studies, and Brian Shaw, earning his Master of Music in music and worship.

In addition to the commissioning ceremony on Friday, the hooding ceremony for recipients of master’s degrees, education specialist degrees, and doctoral degrees will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Lee Chapel.

Following the commissioning ceremony, there will be a reception on Friday for all in attendance to celebrate the graduates.

The hooding, commissioning, and commencement ceremonies are ticketed events.

For those wishing to view any of the events, live streaming will be available at

For more information about commencement exercises, contact the Academic Events Office at (423) 614-8117 or visit

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