NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – After a brief delay Saturday, Tennessee State University dodged an inclement weather forecast to hold its spring commencement at a packed Hale Stadium.
More than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees in various disciplines under a clear, sunny day, with their names and faces in digital displays projected on two massive jumbotron screens during the outdoor ceremony on the main campus.
Prior to the commencement, students, family members and other invited guests who had arrived early for the planned ceremony in the stadium, took cover in nearby Gentry Center to wait out a rain shower. The crowd went back to the “Hole” after the brief downpour and the commencement went on without a hitch.
“We got exactly what our family came here for,” said Gina Benton, of Dayton, Ohio, responding to an apology from TSU President Glenda Glover about the brief inconvenience posed by the weather. “We came here with about 20 family members to watch my son graduate and that’s exactly what we got. With such a beautiful outcome, the weather was a minor issue.”
Benton’s son, Erik, received his degree in Business Administration with honors.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the commencement speaker, apparently not fazed by the weather threat, told the graduates that 55 percent of available jobs in the state would need people with college degrees and the necessary skills to fill those positions.
“Tennessee State University has prepared you to compete for those those jobs and the challenges in life,” Haslam said. “Those challenges will help you handle potential disappointments that come with success.”
The Governor reminded the students to face life with humility and remember those who helped them achieve their higher education goals.
“You did not get to this day by yourself. Thank those who were there with you,” Haslam added. “Learn to celebrate others. You have been called to play a role that will require your full potential. To fulfill that role will require you to continue to improve yourselves by being lifelong learners.”
Before the conferring of degrees, President Glover presented Gov. Haslam with a special plaque for “accepting our invitation and for inspiring not just these graduates but all of us.”
The President also recognized and presented special awards to this year’s group of Vintagers, former TSU graduates who celebrated their 50th year of graduation from TSU.
Dr. Glover announced an over $55,000 contribution from the group to their alma mater.
“We thank you for your generous contribution and for returning to celebrate with us,” the President said.
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About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.