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Graduation Fulfills Dreams for Many as Nearly 1,000 Receive Degrees at TSU’s 2015 Spring Undergraduate Commencement

Glover Wharton
President Glenda Glover and Commencement Speaker, Mayor AC Wharton, march in the procession during the Spring 2015 Undergraduate Commencement in Hale Stadium

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Michaiah Hinds’ greatest gift for graduating college at Tennessee State University today was for his 82-year-old grandmother to see him go across the aisle to receive his degree.

“When I was in the fourth grade my grandmother told me she wouldn’t be around when I graduated from high school,” said Hinds. He did not only prove his grandmother wrong by graduating high school, the Milwaukee native received a bachelor’s degree with honors as a double major in Computer Science and Mass Communications. He has already been accepted to study theology at Wake Forest University in the fall.

Michaiah Hinds proved his grandmother, 82-year-old Wilma Weddle wrong by graduating from college while she is still alive, something she said wouldn’t happen before he graduated high school. Sitting behind, left, is Michaiah’s father Mark, and another relative who came for his graduation.

“I feel joy and blessed to still be here and see him complete college,” said Wilma Weddle, a retired nurse, who led a team of more than 30 people from Milwaukee, including Hinds’ parents and other family members and friend sporting specially designed T-shirts and carrying a congratulatory banner to cheer on Hinds. “Michaiah has always been a good boy who believes in himself just as we taught him when he was growing up.”

For Hinds, the commencement message about “being yourself” was a refresher, as Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, a TSU alum and renowned lawyer told the graduates that the key to success is having confidence and believing in oneself.

“With the advent of modern technology such as social media, there is too much distraction that has taken away our capability to pay attention to each other, and appreciate our own abilities because of gadgets that have taken away our sense of personal touch,” Wharton said. “I am not against technology, but sometime we need to leave our machines and give our full attention to someone who means something to us.”

On his emphasis to “be,” Wharton called on the nearly 1,000 students receiving degrees in TSU’s first undergraduates-only commencement in Hale Stadium to learn to adapt to the changing times and circumstances around them.

“Some of you may have changed majors several times, or life may not have panned as you planned, but you must learn to adapt by being creative, assertive and determined and believing in yourself,” said Wharton, who is in his second term as mayor of Memphis, one the nation’s thriving and fastest growing cities. “Fight to be the best in you than trying to be someone else. Believe in a better world by believing in the possibilities of today. You can be the difference in all the problems that is going on across the nation.”

Outgoing Student Government President Markeil Lewis receives thunderous applause as he is acknowledged by President Glover as an outstanding student and leader.

For Wharton, speaking at TSU’s spring commencement is a “homecoming.” TSU is where he got his start in higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science in 1962. He did not miss on the opportunity to congratulate Memphis native and TSU President Glenda Glover, referring to her as “the best president” Tennessee State University has ever had.

“You are doing a remarkable job here at our alma mater. Congratulations for being a great leader at this institution,” Wharton said.

Earlier, the president welcomed Mayor Wharton, and congratulated the graduates for their achievement.

“I applaud you for achieving this extraordinary milestone in your life,” President Glover said. “You have endured and in the process you have increased your resources for success. Do not forget to thank your parents, relatives, friends and those who were there to see you through this journey.”

Today’s ceremony was a culmination of TSU’s 2015 Dual Commencement Exercises. On Friday, the University held its first graduate commencement, at which more that 300 received advanced degrees, including master’s, education specialist degrees, Ph.Ds., and Ed.Ds.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 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.