Spring 2014 Commencement is May 10


Tennessee State Representative Barrett Rich will be the Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker


Bethel’s spring 2014 Commencement will be Saturday, May 10 with two ceremonies beginning at 9 a.m., and noon. Undergraduate candidates will take part in the 9 a.m., ceremony, and Graduate candidates will take part in the noon ceremony. Fall 2013 Commencement that had to be postponed due to inclement weather this past December will also be held Saturday, May 10 at 3 p.m. All three ceremonies will be held in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena on Wildcat Lane on Bethel’s McKenzie campus.

     Tennessee State Representative Barrett Rich will be the Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker. Representative Rich, the son of Gary and Patsy Rich, is a lifelong resident of Fayette County. He had a career in local law enforcement that spanned from Shelby, Fayette and Davidson Counties. After working the road for three years as a Tennessee State Trooper, he served for two and one half years on the governor’s security detail for both Governors Sundquist and Bredesen.  After ten years in law enforcement, Rich left for a business opportunity with Farm Bureau Insurance. Before, seeking office, he founded the Fayette and Hardeman County Young Republicans (which became the largest group of Y.R.’s in the state). Chairman Rich is a graduate of Bethel College and received his Juris Doctorate from the Nashville School of Law. In 2008 he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives with a 60% majority of the vote of the 94th District. Once in the chamber, he was chosen by his colleagues to be Freshman Class President and elected to serve as the Republican Assistant Floor Leader.  As a legislator he sponsored bills in the 106th General Assembly that were tough on crime and protected individual and property rights. He served in the 107th General Assembly as the Republican Majority Whip, Vice Chairman of the Government Operations Committee, and member of the Judiciary Committee. As a member of the 108th General Assembly he is Chairman of the Health Sub Committee and a member of the full Health Committee, Criminal Justice Committee, and Ethics Committee. He also serves as a member of the POST Commission (Peace Officer Standards and Training).  Representative Rich was featured by the Memphis Business Journal as one of the “People on the Move,” and he also volunteers in many capacities including roles with Fayette Cares and his role on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Pastoral Parish Relations Committee of the First United Methodist Church in Somerville. He has a daughter, Alexis Dunn Rich. 

          The Rev. Leonard Turner, minister of the Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tenn., the scheduled speaker for Bethel’s Fall 2013 ceremony, will speak at the rescheduled event at 3 p.m.

      Seating for each Commencement and processional lineup (for both students and faculty) will be one hour before each scheduled ceremony or as soon as a previous ceremony ends. For more information about Bethel University’s Commencement exercises on May 10, contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at