President's Convocation kicks off 2012-13 academic year for students, Lipscomb community

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Former board member and Lipscomb Academy benefactor Neika Stephens places the Lipscomb mace on stage.

Lipscomb Academy, nursing students and a beloved classmate received special recognition Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Lipscomb University’s President’s Convocation, the annual formal ceremony to kick off the academic year.

The President’s Convocation, at 11 a.m. in Allen Arena, included an address by Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry; worship led by Darwin Mason, youth minister at Schrader Lane Church of Christ in Nashville; faculty dressed in traditional academic regalia; a parade of flags representing the home nations of the student body; and music by the Nashville Pipes and Drums.

All undergraduate students at Lipscomb University and students from the Lipscomb Academy middle and high schools attended the convocation ceremony. Lipscomb Academy’s Class of 2013 were honored with special seating on the arena floor, along with nursing students at the university, who are enjoying a brand new facility that opened earlier this month.

The School of Nursing has experienced great growth in the past two years, increasing from 32 students in fall 2010 to more than 100 this year. This fall also brought completion of the Nursing and Health Sciences Center, with what is considered the most fully equipped health science simulation lab in the region, and a new dean for the school, Beth Youngblood, who gave the academic charge at convocation.

Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry gave his annual address highlighting the university’s successes since the students left campus in May. He introduced 35 new faculty who have been hired this fall, and welcomed the 170 Yellow Ribbon students, military veterans benefitting from the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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Lowry enters the arena for Convocation 2012.
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The nursing class has grown to more than 100 students and moved into a new building this semester.
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Lipscomb Academy's Class of 2013 celebrated the new name for the K-12 school.

Lowry told the story of one such student, Ben Maenza, who was in the field in Afghanistan for only three weeks before both his legs were injured by a land mine. Returning home as a double amputee, Maenza didn’t let his wounds stop him, and he recently placed second in the Boston Marathon hand-cycle division. Now he’s ready to take on the challenge of a college education at Lipscomb.

As of the day of convocation, Lipscomb’s enrollment figures for overall enrollment, undergraduate students, first-time freshmen, graduate students and nursing students were all at all-time highs, Lowry noted.

“We are building a spirit on campus that can be recognized and defined by those who visit our campus,” Lowry said during his address. “It is a spirit that is faith-focused and future-focused. As we see this spirit grow, we will see amazing things happen.”

Lowry also held a moment of silence for the late Matt Deery, a New Jersey native who would have been a rising sophomore at Lipscomb this year but who suffered a tragic car accident three weeks ago. Lowry attended his funeral and last week the university held a memorial for the athletic standout. Several of his family members attended the memorial service.

Lowry concluded his talk with this anecdote: “After attending the memorial, Matt’s grandfather said to me, ‘I really didn’t understand Matt coming to this Christian university. I didn’t really understand what that meant. Now I know why he loved it.’”



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New Associate Nursing Dean Beth Youngblood gave the academic charge. New Lipscomb Academy High School
Principal Lanny Witt led the prayer.
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Sentinal of Freedom scholarship student Ben Maenza was recognized during convocation. Perennial student fave the Nashville Pipe
and Drums played at convocation.
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New Lipscomb Academy Elementary School Principal Jonathan Sheahen read scripture. Darwin Mason of Schrader Lane Church
of Christ led worship.