Southern Graduates First Class of Doctoral Students
A total of 440 students, including Southern’s first group of doctoral students, received their diplomas during Commencement services at the Chattanooga Convention Center on May 4.
Greg Vital, president and CEO of Independent Healthcare Properties and Morning Pointe Assisted Living, delivered the Commencement address and called seniors to "a lifetime of learning." The message was especially relevant considering Vital attended Southern in the late 1970s before leaving to pursue a business career only a few credits shy of his own graduation. He took time away from that business this semester and came back to school to complete the degree. He graduated with the Class of 2014.
Following the speech, Garrison Hayes, senior class president, provided an inspirational and heart-warming response, uniting the graduates one last time in laughter and nostalgia.
Many other students, both graduating and current, participated in the weekend services through special music, offering, scripture, and various other tasks. John Nixon, professor in the School of Religion, and Kendra Stanton-Lee, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, had the honor of being sponsors for the Class of 2014.
This semester’s ceremony were especially notable as it included Southern’s first class of doctoral graduates. Students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program completed five semesters of study and chose to concentrate either in areas of acute care or lifestyle therapeutics.