Lipscomb celebrates historic milestones at spring commencement

By Kim Chaudoin on 4/23/2012


Spring commencement photo gallery.

A standing-room only crowd of more than 5,000 people helped Lipscomb mark several historic milestones during spring 2012 commencement Saturday, May 5, in Allen Arena.

The ceremony marked the largest graduating class in Lipscomb’s history as the university awarded 542 degrees to May graduates and recognized 134 August graduates. More graduate-level students—197—graduated than in any previous spring semester. The Class of 2012 also included the largest-ever class in nursing and in the bachelor’s in business and master's of sustainability programs.

Among the most significant moments was the awarding of doctoral degrees for the first time in university history. The first class of the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy received the first doctorates ever awarded at Lipscomb. The Lipscomb College of Pharmacy was the first such college established in Middle Tennessee and graduated the largest pharmacy class in Nashville this spring.

The 71 pharmacy graduates hail from 15 states and one foreign nation. Sixteen of them are now headed to professional residencies around the nation, and the rest will enter private practice or move on to graduate school to pursue research or pharmacy education in the coming months.

At commencement Roger L. Davis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, encouraged graduates to be content with what they have in life as they leave Lipscomb.

“As Epicurus said around 300 BC, 'Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for,'” said Davis. "Translated into Biblical terms, the apostle Paul encourages us to be content where we are, to use the talents that God has given us and other good opportunities and blessings will come our way. Fulfillment is in the striving. The future will take care of itself. Do not waste the time worrying about what the future holds.”

He also encouraged the graduates not to settle for things to remain the way they’ve always been and to strive to make a difference in the quality of life for others. Davis also specifically encouraged the pharmacy graduates to realize the impact they will have on future generations of student pharmacists.

“You have created footprints where none existed,” he said. “During the course of your life, you will continue to make footprints for others to follow. Others will follow in those footsteps, and they will depend on the surety of those footprints in guiding their lives. As always, humble yourselves and ask God to bless all of your efforts as you strive to alleviate suffering and show care and compassion for all people.”

Beth Harwell, Tennessee’s first female Speaker of the House, was recently named the 2012 Alumnus of the Year. A 1978 graduate of Lipscomb, Harwell has served in the Tennessee Legislature since 1988. She addressed the graduates during the ceremony.

“Lipscomb University has prepared you well for leadership – leadership in your homes, in your church, your business, your professions and in the community at large. So I urge you to remember the principles that you’ve learned at Lipscomb because they will serve you well in life,” said Harwell.

Other historic milestones celebrated during commencement:

• The 26 students from Madagascar who began their education here in 2008 through a Malagasy government-sponsored program graduated with bachelor’s degrees. After less than a year on campus, a 2009 coup in their home country left the students with uncertain financial support for the rest of their education. Some of these students have not been able to return home throughout their college career;

• The graduation of the first graduates in the Master of Professional Studies in Aging Services Leadership program;

• More nursing students than ever before – 50 –received Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees;

• The class included 36 SALT Scholars, students who have accomplished specific service requirements during their college career, including a semester-long service project in their senior year; and

• The College of Education graduated its first students to complete their degrees at an off-campus location.