Bethel Celebrates Growth and New Science Building at Commencement


Ray and Linda Morris speak to guests at the dedication of Bethel's newly constructed Ray and Linda Morris Science Complex

May 8, 2010 will stand out as a truly momentous occasion for Bethel University in McKenzie. During two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, the school awarded degrees to approximately 300 graduates – a number that better reflected Bethel’s entire enrollment back in spring 1998.
     “It’s hard to believe that in just 12 years, we have come to a point where each of our graduations are producing as many graduates as we had students enrolled in spring of ’98,” President Bob Prosser said. “We feel fortunate to be where we are, and we are very deliberate on where we are headed in the future.”
     The school held commencement for the College of Liberal Arts and another commencement was held for graduates from the College of Professional Studies and the College of Graduate Studies later in the day. Bethel began holding two separate commencements this past December to best accommodate a large fall 2009 graduating class.
Bethel University also dedicated the Ray and Linda Morris Science Complex on Saturday, with special guests Dr. Ray and Linda Morris among those being recognized.
     Dr. and Mrs. Morris, owners of Venture Construction Co., in Atlanta, Ga., were generous donors to Bethel’s science complex. Ray Morris is a former McKenzian, a former Bethel student and a member of the Bethel Board of Trustees.
     Also recognized during the dedication were Jim and Janet Ayers of the Ayers Foundation in Nashville. The Jim and Janet Ayers Lecture Hall in the new science complex was presented in recognition of their commitment and contributions to Bethel students.
     Dr. Newsom and Beverly Baker of Knoxville, Tenn., were also recognized for their significant contribution to the science building project.
     Mrs. Toni Prosser, retired Director of Development for Bethel was recognized for spearheading the development of a number of Bethel building projects including the science complex. The plaza adjacent to the science complex has been named the Toni M. Prosser University Plaza in her honor.
     Also recognized was David Lankford, a math teacher at Bethel for more than 40 years. Lankford’s family had given a significant donation to the science building project on his behalf.
     Dr. Roger Johnson, a physics professor at Bethel, was also recognized for his continuous support through the years toward the building in the form of payroll deduction.
     Serving as commencement speaker was Ayers Foundation President, Janet Ayers, who was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from Bethel by President Prosser during the day’s events.
     Ayers told graduates that whether they realized it or not, just by earning a degree their personal stories were inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
     “The most effective tool for ministry to others is a life story,” Ayers said. “Each of you has a life story.”
Ayers reminded graduates that their degrees will be their insurance policies, that doors will be opened because they earned a degree.
     “No one can take the education you’ve received away from you,” she said.
     Ayers shared personal stories of graduates. One of the students said she had most learned endurance while at Bethel. Another said he had most learned persistence, and another said she had gained confidence in her abilities at Bethel.
     “The reason I love Bethel so much is because it does mirror what we do at the Ayers Foundation,” Ayers said. “Bethel opens its arms to everyone, and everyone is supported and encouraged. Everyone has value.”
     Ayers closed by reminding the graduates that there would be hard work ahead.
     “I don’t have to tell you that the real work is about to start,” she said. “But because of where you’ve come, you will be the best of the best.
     “Continue to tell your individual story and inspire others.”
     Those students graduating from the College of Liberal Arts included:
     Bachelor of Science:
     Daniel Lafayette Andrews II, McKenzie; Bryant Jermaine Banks, Social Circle, Ga.; Courtney Leigh Barnett, Troy; Samuel M. Bass, Doniphan, Mo.; Letitia Ruth Bell (Magna Cum Laude), McKenzie; Kashundria Berry, Houston, Texas; Charles Blanton (Summa Cum Laude), Hendersonville; Beau Brown, McKenzie; Carla Kadian Chambers, Jamaica; Joseph Cole Dwight Clanton, Hornbeak; Massimo Collu-Marchese, McKenzie; Savannah Jo Cooper, Paris; Michele Souza Cunha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Rickey Currie Jr., Atoka; Jessica Nicole Davis, Huntingdon; Scott Fulton Dean, Medon; Nina Djokovic (Cum Laude), Belgrade, Serbia; Jordan Blake Donegan (Summa Cum Laude), Antioch; Mary Elizabeth Douglas, McKenzie; Jon Reed Dyer, Paris; Chrystal Arie Edmonds, Paris; Benjamin M. Ensell (Magna Cum Laude), McKenzie; Brian Thomas French, Cedar Grove; Marika Fukuta (Cum Laude), Tokyo, Japan; Brittney Bianca Gates, Memphis; Aubrey Lynn Ham (Cum Laude), Munford; Heidi Nicole Hames, Gleason; Scott Thomas Hampton, Huntingdon; Joshua Darnell Harper, Lebanon; Julie Amber Harris, McKenzie; Michael Lee James Henderson, Savannah; Gustavo Beiro Hoewell, McKenzie; Kerry Diamon Holliday (Cum Laude), Memphis; Kristen Blaire Johnson, McKenzie; Tristian L. Johnson, Whiteville; Keith Allen Jones, Memphis; Courtney Creasy Kee (Summa Cum Laude), McKenzie; Mario Kovacevic, Zagreb, Croatia; Melissa A. Liddell, Memphis; Gladys L. Litton (Cum Laude), Lavinia; Samantha Jo Litton (Magna Cum Laude), Kenton; Brandon V. McDaniel (Cum Laude), Bartlett; Alureals A. Mayes, Martin; Andres Mejia, McKenzie; Jessica Claire Montoya (Magna Cum Laude), Burlison; Wendy Y. Morton, Cottage Grove; Sandy Nasif (Summa Cum Laude), Nashville; Daniel Ryan Nieuwenhuis, Lyles; Jordan Layne Alisa Nuffer, Garland, Texas; Jon A. Patterson, Huron; Jerry Douglas Pickard (Cum Laude), Atwood; Ayda Ximena Ardila Quintero, McKenzie; Autumn Nicole Roberson, Dyersburg; William Archibald Robertson V (Cum Laude), Portland; Otakar Schober (Cum Laude), Jihlava, Czech; Ashley Diane Simmons (Magna Cum Laude), Kevil, Ky.; Samatha Spears (Cum Laude), Paris; Robert K. Spraggins, Memphis; Wallace Blaine Sumler (Cum Laude), Lexington; Travis Jordan Sylver, Port Charlotte, Fla.; Tashana Taylor-Brown (Cum Laude), McKenzie; Whitney Brooke Taylor (Cum Laude), Stanton; Joshua Keith Wharton (Summa Cum Laude), Marion, Ill.; Trisha Caroline Whitener, Chattanooga; Desmond Zollicoffer, Camden.

     Bachelor of Science in Nursing:
     Michelle Patricia Arnhold, Bruceton; Monica Annette Avery, Huntingdon; Thomas Bryan Barnes, Milan; Kimmarley Chin (Summa Cum Laude), McKenzie; Libnis N. Emerson, McMinnville; Lori Elaine Gream, Paris; Lacee McCurley Harris, Milan; Anglia Elaine McNeely Harrison, Trezevant; Catherine Hart, Paris,; Lauren Hart, McKenzie; Tangderia Dominique Hill, Jackson; Stephen Johnson, Bradford; Brittany Rhea King, Milan; Valorie Joan Leach, Milan; Ebony Letecia Lee, Jackson; Philip Andrew McCain, Paris; Anna Martin (Cum Laude), Camden; Michelle Marie Pittman (Summa Cum Laude), Herrin, Ill.; Amanda Rose Smolka, San Antonio, Texas; Stephanie Nicole Taylor, McKenzie; Courtney Renea Wiggins; Henry; Celena Rose Williams, Medina.

     Bachelor of Arts:
     Keith Brown, McKenzie; Chancy L’Amour DePriest, Trezevant; Victoria Elaine Dunn, Huntingdon; Bethany Ellis, McKenzie; Madison Irving, Arlington; Stacey Leanne Johnson (Cum Laude), Atwood; William Daniel McCallister, McKenzie; Brittany Paige Meeks (Summa Cum Laude), Fairfield, Ill.; Sandy Nasif (Summa Cum Laude), Nashville.

     Graduating from the College of Professional Studies:
     Bachelor of Science:
     Celana Lois Allen, Jackson; Lester R. Artry, Bartlett; Theresa L. Stewart Bailey, Memphis; Jinny Blaine Ballard, Jackson; Max F. Bareiss, Clarksville; Robert F. Barham (Cum Laude), Jackson; Lori A. Blado (Summa Cum Laude), McKenzie; Stephanie Lorice Bradley, Memphis; Gregory J. Brand, Clarksville; Chrystal R. Brown, Jackson; Norma Brown Buchanan (Summa Cum Laude), Antioch; Beth W. Burkhalter (Cum Laude), Clarksville; Jasmine Renea Byrd, Nashville; Carrie Ellen Cantrell, Milan; Ronald L. Carr, Clarksville; Malorie Ann Carter (Magna Cum Laude), Bells; Deborah Lee Clark, Readyville; Frank Edward Coffey, Jr., Clarksville; Denise Lane Cook (Magna Cum Laude); Catherine Louise Cowan, Hermitage; Marie J. Cox, Trenton; Chauntrece M. Crawford, Cordova, De’Arsha Loretta Crotzer, Clarksville; Larry Joe Davis, Huron; Alfred Dickson, Sr., Memphis, Robin Michelle Dillon, Jackson; Annie Louise Dodson, Memphis; Misty D. Dotson, Milan; Jaime Lynn Dozier, Ashland City; Bobby Joe Dunavant Jr., Hernando, Miss.; Beneatha Samee Fields, Antioch, James Anthony Gean (Magna Cum Laude), Lexington; Michael Shawn Gilbreath, Dyersburg; David L. Glover (Summa Cum Laude), Bartlett; Marie Gooden; Clarence Greer III, Memphis; Mark Anthony Gunter (Cum Laude), Murfreesboro; Darlene Gail Hamilton (Cum Laude), Nashville; Kimberly McEntire Hammonds, Dresden; Stevie Hardin (Magna Cum Laude), Jackson; Beverly Harris, Memphis; Rebecca Lynn Hickerson (Summa Cum Laude), Hixson; Martin P. Higginbotham, Huntingdon; Emma Bedford Hoath, Columbia; Jeanie Howse, Murfreesboro; Nancy O’Neal Hunt (Summa Cum Laude), Russellville, Ky.; Stephanie Lynn Hunt (Magna Cum Laude), Cordova; Adrian T. Ingram, Bells; Janet Elizabeth Jackson, Dyersburg; Autumn Page James (Magna Cum Laude), Milan; Vaddie M. James, Bells; Rochelle Denise Johnson, Atoka; David (Brad) Jordan (Magna Cum Laude), Memphis; Blanche Nicole Kibble, Memphis; Debbie W. King (Cum Laude), Toone; Tity Yamba Kiyedi, Nashville; Joseph Andrew Lamb, Ooltewah; Diana Marie Lancaster, Jackson; Devin Annaliese Lovvorn, Murfreesboro; Megan Elisabeth Lunn, Trezevant; Amber McCullough, Memphis; Jerrod Blake McKnight, Nashville; Lisa C. McLaughlin (Cum Laude), Clarksville; Regina Maben, Ripley; Audria Maria Maddox, Murfreesboro; Bobby Clint Maners, Medina; Tavie Mangrum (Cum Laude), Clarksville; Yvette Denise Marshall, Bartlett; Joseph David Martin, Mt. Juliet; Angela C. Massey, Paris; Victoria J. Moats, Clarksville; David Alan Moore, Antioch; Janice Clanton Moore, Newbern; Gladys Dorothea Nance, Gates; Saeb Brandon Nassar, Nashville; Shirley Nobles, Paris; Donna a. Noel, Cordova; Travis Lee Odom, Cleveland; Thomas T. Owen III, Ashland City; Allyson L. Page, Paris; Nicki Vashun Parker, Memphis; Jacqueline Marie Patterson, Murfreesboro; Tanya A. Phillips, Jackson; Louretha Marcia’ Pillow, Nashville; Nancy Richardson Pollitt, Nashville; Michael Anthony Poteet, Murfreesboro; Meredith Powell, Paris; Selena Lasonya Ray, Memphis; Georgia E. Robinson, Brownsville; Jo McAllister Russell, Clarksville; Yvonne Pierce Salsbury (Summa Cum Laude), Spring Hill; Kerry Cordell Saulsberry, Memphis; Amanda Schnaithman, Clarksville; Linda Lucille Fesmire Singleton, Lexington; Ruby J. Smith (Magna Cum Laude), Memphis; Jeffery de’Wayne Snorton, Antioch; Gwendolyn Spencer-Gause, Jackson; Jeffery A. Stacey, Lebanon; Alicia Michelle Taylor, Henderson; James Edward Taylor, Antioch; Lizzie M. Taylor, Watertown; Nancy Sothern Teboe, Lexington; Demetrium L. Thompson, Jackson; Deborah A. Tims (Magna Cum Laude); Susan M. Tindall, Mt. Juliet; Jacqueline A. Toon (Magna Cum Laude), Clarksville; Thomas Jay Upton (Magna Cum Laude), Ringgold, Ga.; Carolyn Rose Vaughn (Cum Laude), Dyersburg; Sabrina C. Vaughn (Magna Cum Laude), Lexington; Brittie Marilyn Weddle, Denmark; Daniel R. White, Clarksville; Gus O’Neal White Jr., Milan; Willie Mae White, Milan; Kent M. Whitwell (Magna Cum Laude), Parsons; Teresa Wigfall, Whites Creek; Kimberly Bond Wiggins, Clarksville; Stephanie Wilbourn-Tucker, Jackson; Shannon Morton Williams (Cum Laude), Medina; Stacey Lynn Williams, Jackson; Dawn Alisa Wright, Murfreesboro; Joe Dean Wright, Soddy Daisy; Julie R. Wright, Clarksville.

     College of Graduate Studies:
     Master of Arts in Education:
     Cliffton Benjamin Barna, Ocala, Fla.; Bronson Lee Bradley, Westmoreland; Karlene L. Ellis-Cheatham, McKenzie; Lanita Engle, Adamsville; Gregory Quantrall Howard, Memphis; Kristie Michelle Lancaster, Lexington; Jenell D. Moses, Cordova; James Kevin Price, Medina; Cynthia Shaw Rivers, Jackson; David Montford Rogers, V, Brighton; Harvey Lee Scott III, Bartlett; Titus K. Taylor, Atwood; Boyce Lee Watson Jr., Memphis; Alandria F. Williams, Memphis; Constance Patrick Wright, Memphis.

     Master of Arts in Teaching:
     Morgan Noel Giles, Huntingdon; Lindsey Ann Holt, McKenzie; Ron Wesley Jankovich, McKenzie; Chastity Marie Rodgers, Gadsden; Andy Radford Salmon, Paris; Saren Elizabeth Ann Thompson, Mammoth Springs, Ark.

     Master of Business Administration:
     Briana Alexander, Nashville; Kelly Marie Alexander, Lexington; Joanna Marie Allen, Huntingdon; Sharon Elaine Allen, Jackson; Leslie N. Arnett, Lexington; Kevin L. Banks, Hermitage; LeKisa D. Bell, Memphis; Michael J. Brack, Lima, Ohio; Jason W. Bradley, Soddy Daisy; Patsy L. Breece, Trenton; Christie L. Bursey, Brighton; Francene D. Burton, Lexington; Peggy Marie Carter, Huntingdon; Tiffany S. Casey, Memphis; Paul H. Casteel, Lavinia; Paul Joseph Citro, Pegram; Monica Clayborne-Scott, Jackson; Kacey Jewell Criswell, Trenton; Savanah Diane Greer, Jackson; Jada Sherelle Gunn, Antioch; Vickie Mechelle Hamilton, Memphis; Christine Kepler Hart, Memphis; Alicia Denise Harts, Olive Branch, Miss.; Charles Graham Hines, Chattanooga; Brandon James Hudson, Newbern; Diana Giambra Johnson, Reagan; Michael Lee Jones, Brownsville; Lauren Faith Lafevor, Fayetteville; Angelo DaShun Lamar, Millington; Jeffery Lockwood, Clarksville; Editha Longwell, Clarksville; Cynthia A. Lyons, Memphis; Byron D. Matthews, Memphis; Jonathan Moss, Nashville; Derrick Cleveland Mummert, Huntingdon; Katie Cassandra Nelson, Gallatin; Anjanette Tenneil Patton, Antioch; Tisha Lynn Rader, Franklin; Belinda Smith Simpson, Memphis; Denise L. Singleton, Lavergne; Christopher L. Thompson, Antioch; Stephanie Rae Thompson, Antioch; Emily Ann Thomson, Nashville; Jamie Necole Upton, Dalton, Ga.; Jared Michael Walker, Dyersburg; Stephen B. Watson, Buchanan. 
     Bethel University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees through a number of diverse learning platforms. For more information about Bethel, go to