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December commencement celebrates the educational achievements of more than 400 students

Commencement marks the end of an educational journey and a new beginning.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Graduation ceremony in Allen Arena

At Lipscomb University our mission is to prepare students for their careers and lives beyond our campus. On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Lipscomb community celebrated its newest graduates at
annual winter commencement.

The day was filled with receptions, celebrations and family and friends gathering to mark this milestone in their students’ lives. At the ceremony, 46 students were awarded doctoral degrees, 41 awarded Education Specialist degrees, 211 awarded master’s degrees and 149 awarded undergraduate degrees. 

After the traditional processional, led by Nashville Pipes and Drums, Nancy Magnusson Durham, professor of psychology, gave a charge to the students on behalf of the faculty. 

“My desire today is to encourage you because I am confident that you are well prepared for your next adventures,” she said. “Your families have prepared you … shaped your career, your faith, your political views. Your university has prepared you well … developed your abilities to create, to think critically, argue, listen, be flexible and appreciate diverse opinions and peoples. You are ready to go to work. The good news is that God has prepared good works for you to do.”

Graduate and family taking a picture

Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry recognized several of the class’s graduates during the ceremony including Breno De Almedia Brasil, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology. A native of Garanhuns, Brazil, De Almedia Brasil was introduced to Lipscomb by a missionary from Nashville and decided to study at Lipscomb because he “believed God wanted him to be at a Christian University.”

“In fact, he turned down a four-year full tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt so that he could be part of our Christian community,” said Lowry. “Breno has taken advantage of everything that Lipscomb has to offer, from greek life to research on neuromuscular development. He is graduating with a 4.0 GPA in molecular biology and will be applying to medical school this spring. He hasn't seen his parents in four years, but they are here today, all the way from Brazil, to witness his college graduation.”

Among other graduates, Lowry also recognized Major Alex Renfro. U.S. Air Force veteran who earned an undergraduate degree from Lipscomb in 2010. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree, he served as an officer from 2010-2017 and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Upon his return, he enrolled in Lipscomb again and completed his Master of Business Administration degree this fall. 

Graduate standing and smiling at ceremony when he sees parents.

Breno De Almedia Brasil sees his parents for the first time in four years at commencement,

In his charge to the graduates, Lowry shared a quote from Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“We may not need wait a single moment to improve the world. This is our calling to you. We are thrilled to have had you,” Lowry told the graduates. “You have enriched our lives and our institution. You will always be no matter what happens to you in life a member of the Lipscomb University community. But now you leave and you leave with that charge to go out and not just exist, not just to do things for yourselves but to go out as Anne Frank said and improve the world. May God bless you as you do so.”

Classes resume for the spring semester on Jan. 6, 2020. 

Watch complete Dec. 2019 commencement

— Photos by Kristi Jones