Roy Herron to Speak at Bethel Commencement



Roy Herron, former legislator and current Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, will deliver the Commencement address at Bethel University’s spring 2013 Commencement. Bethel’s Commencement ceremonies will be this Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m., in the school’s Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena on Wildcat Lane on the McKenzie campus.


Roy Herron graduated from UT-Martin with highest honors, studied New Testament and Ethics in Scotland as a Rotary Scholar, then became one of Vanderbilt University’s first two joint Divinity and Law graduates. He worked part-time as a minister and began making his living as a country lawyer and small businessman.


He began public service by working on the staffs of his Dresden neighbor, then-Speaker Ned McWherter, and then-Congressman Al Gore when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He was elected to Governor Ned McWherter’s Tennessee House seat, and served there and then in the Tennessee Senate where his colleagues elected him Democratic Floor Leader and Democratic Caucus Chair.


He authored literally dozens of laws strengthening ethics, enabling health care, attacking crime, helping victims, and protecting children, workers, whistleblowers and freedoms.  Herron held over 1,000 listening meetings, more than any other Tennessee legislator, while attending 1,292 floor sessions, every single session for 26 years except the day his youngest son was being born.


He also worked on Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaigns, serving as Gore’s Tennessee state director in 2000.  In 2010, Herron won the Democratic nomination seeking to fill Congressman John Tanner’s seat representing Middle and West Tennessee.  He earned all eight newspaper endorsements, including those of the Nashville, Jackson and Memphis dailies.


In January 2013, Herron concluded his service in the Tennessee Senate and was elected Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.


Herron is the author of three books about faith, family and political humor. He and his “bride” of 26 years, Nancy, a Tennessee Claims Commissioner, are the parents of three Eagle Scouts who now are college students. They are members of the First United Methodist Church in Dresden.


Herron also is a Boston Marathoner who has completed more than 30 marathons and ultra-marathons, and last August he completed his fourth Ironman Triathlon, swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, then completing a marathon, 26.2 miles, for a total of 140 miles.


Seating for Commencement will begin at 9 a.m. and the processional lineup (for both students and faculty) will also be at 9 a.m. For more information about Bethel University’s spring 2013 Commencement, contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at