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Lipscomb to celebrate May graduation with virtual baccalaureate, commencement this week

University officials have been working for weeks to develop virtual baccalaureate and commencement to celebrate May 2020 graduates.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Camera filming baccalaureate in Collins Alumni Auditorium

This week for many Nashville colleges and universities would have been a week filled with graduation celebrations, commencement addresses and family gatherings. 

With traditional end of semester graduation activities cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lipscomb University officials have been hard at work developing plans for celebrating and honoring its May graduates and August graduates who petitioned to walk early even with the disappointment of not being able to participate in the traditional ceremony this spring. 

However, the Lipscomb community will still celebrate the occasion with a series of virtual events, including online commencement events, baccalaureate and various college and program activities — all online. May graduates and August graduates who petitioned to walk early class are also invited to return to campus to participate in fall commencement set for Dec. 19. 

University officials have been planning for weeks to develop a virtual commencement that will contain familiar elements of on-the-ground ceremonies of the past. Program participants including Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry, Provost W. Craig Bledsoe and several other “platform participants” dressed up in their academic regalia and have come to the Lipscomb campus in shifts to film their portion of commencement that will be part of the live virtual broadcast on Saturday.  

The university is filming baccalaureate as well as two commencements, as they would have hosted two live events on campus this Saturday.

Two people painting the bison.

Provost W. Craig Bledsoe, in regalia, and Scott Sager, vice president of church services, paint the bison in honor of May 2020 graduates.

Events include (all times listed are central time):

Friday, May 1

5 p.m. — Baccalaureate. This is a traditional period of prayer and worship for undergraduate students held on the eve of graduation day in May and December. The service will be streamed live at

Saturday, May 2

10:30 a.m. — Graduate Commencement. This ceremony recognizes May graduates and August graduates who petitioned to walk early who have completed master’s degrees, specialist degrees and doctoral degrees. The ceremony will be streamed live at

3 p.m. — Undergraduate Commencement. This ceremony recognizes May graduates and August graduates who petitioned to walk early who are receiving bachelor’s degrees. The service will be streamed live at 

In addition to these events, the university’s colleges and other programs will have a series of virtual celebrations in the days leading up to commencement or following the ceremonies on May 2. Please check back often as the list will be updated frequently.

College of Business
On April 30, the College of Business will celebrate its undergraduates at 1 p.m. and its graduate students at 5 p.m. At the appropriate time a video will be shown live on the College of Business Facebook page that is a compilation of short videos from each graduate sharing a favorite memory of the program along with a message from Ray Eldridge, dean of the college; a message from Zach Evans, COB alumni board chair; and a final congratulations from business faculty. They will then be invited to a private virtual “reception” afterwards via Zoom.  

College of Education

  • Celebrated student teachers completing their teacher preparation programs. The online celebration included a presentation of each completer, recognition of student teaching award winners, a tribute to Junior High, and a video montage of student teacher experiences.
  • Preparing a celebration video for its graduates at all levels. The video features many faculty and staff offering their congratulations and best wishes to the graduates. 
  • Will honor graduates from its EdD program immediately after the graduation ceremony on May 2 with an online celebration including all faculty and graduates. 
  • A ceremony for the May 2020 class of IDEAL program completers will take place on Friday, May 1 at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live on the IDEAL program Facebook page

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

  • Dean David Holmes will share a video message of congratulations for all College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and recognizing its honor students on Thursday, April 30. The Department of Biology will have a virtual meeting with seniors on Friday, May 1, to share a video tribute as well as award senior superlatives.
  • The Department of Communication & Journalism hosted a virtual graduation celebration for its graduates on Thursday, April 23. 
  • The Department of Psychology will share a special video with its seniors during the week of graduation. 
  • The Department of English & Modern Languages is hosting a virtual celebration for its graduates on Thursday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m.

The College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
The College of Pharmacy will hold a virtual recognition ceremony for graduates on Friday, May 1. The recognition ceremony will include a faculty charge, a reply from the class president, student, faculty, and preceptor awards, and the administration of the oath of a pharmacist to our soon to be graduates

Lipscomb Online
Lipscomb Online will hold a virtual graduation ceremony to recognize its undergraduate, graduate and certificate graduates on Thursday, April 30. 

— Photos by Kristi Jones