Bethel University held its Summer 2016 Commencement on Saturday, August 6 with 271 candidates receiving degrees. Degrees awarded included bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees.
According to Bethel University President Dr. Walter Butler the event also kicked off a year-long celebration of the school’s 175th Birthday.
Serving as Commencement speaker was Nancy Bean, recently retired Vice President of Bethel’s College of Arts and Sciences. Bean, a Bethel graduate herself, and a lifelong supporter of Bethel University, was granted the school’s prestigious Doctor of Humane Letters for her many contributions to education.
Bean congratulated the graduates as well as all the people at the ceremony.
“Each of you has either directly or indirectly influenced or supported these graduates,” Bean said.
She remarked on the word “congratulations” and told graduates that her message centered around this word.
“The first three letters are also the first three letters of the word continue,” she said. “Continue to learn – to purposefully learn. You must continue to stretch your mind.
“Next,” she said, “are the letters grat. Gratitude is a key to a happy life.”
Bean next looked at the letter “u.”
“You have your destiny in your hands. You can make that destiny a good future, or you can crush it with the actions you make,” she said.
With the next letters, “la,” Bean told students to lay aside the things would hold them back in life.
Finally, she said, “I am taking some liberties with the last part of the word congratulations. It sounds like shuns. Remember that a successful person shuns things that rob him from being the best he can be.”
Bethel University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the state of Tennessee. The school is affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and offers bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees through a variety of learning platforms including traditional face to face instruction and online.