Governor Haslam To Speak To Lee Graduates, Receive Doctorate Saturday

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lee University will award Governor Bill Haslam an honorary doctorate when he delivers their winter commencement address on the Cleveland campus this weekend, officials announced Thursday. 

“We are honored that the governor is taking time to come and speak to our graduates,” said Lee President Paul Conn, “and we feel it’s the perfect opportunity to recognize the governor’s many years of exceptional service in public life. We are glad he has agreed to accept this degree, a Doctor of Laws, as part of Saturday’s ceremony.” 

Dr. Conn explained that the Doctor of Laws degree is the honorary degree most commonly given to recognize accomplishment in government.  It is the first time Lee has given such a degree to an elected official, and only the thirteenth honorary degree the school has awarded in the past 25 years.

Saturday’s commencement ceremony at Lee is the first of three graduations during the school year.  The university will confer bachelors and masters degrees to 275 graduates, a record number for the December graduation.  “It’s shaping up to be a big day,” Conn continued, “a major milestone for a lot of students and their families.  We are grateful Governor Haslam will be here to be a part of that moment. 

“Lee University places a strong emphasis on serving others.  Our graduates this weekend have been taught the importance of service since they arrived on campus as freshmen.  It makes sense for us to bestow an honor like this on such an exemplary public servant as Governor Haslam.”

In addition to Governor Haslam’s commencement address, the graduates and their guests will hear music by the Lee University Chorale.  A full house is expected in the 1800-seat Conn Center, and the 500-seat Dixon Center next door will be linked via widescreen video.  In addition, the ceremony is being live-streamed on the university website, www.leeuniversity.edu/video.

“We know Governor Haslam will provide our graduates with a wonderful example of a successful businessman who left private business to serve the public in government leadership,” Dr. Conn said.  “We are complimented that he would come to participate in our commencement, of course, but we also believe he can offer an important challenge to our graduates, whatever their political affiliation.”

Governor Haslam, who was elected to be Tennessee’s governor in 2010, is a native of Knoxville. He graduated from Emory University as a history major in 1980.  Working in his family business, Pilot Corporation, he eventually became president of that company.  He was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and served in that office until his run for the governorship.

Governor Haslam and his wife Crissy have two daughters and a son. They are members of the Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, where he served as an elder for 22 years.


Dalton State’s Next Step Program Guides High School Seniors

Aided by a grant from the Workforce Investment Act, Dalton State College is working to bring together retired educators and high school seniors for the Next Step Program which provides area students with the opportunities to improve their math, reading, and English skills, explore career interests, develop work readiness skills, and transition to post-secondary options. The ... (click for more)

Alexander Lauds Supreme Court's Affirmative Action Decision In Michigan Case

Senator Lamar Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate education committee and former U.S. Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a Michigan ballot initiative banning affirmative action in admissions decisions at the state’s public colleges and universities: “Two important principles that ... (click for more)

Catoosa Man Convicted Of Sexual Abuse Of 5 Young Girls Gets Life Plus 250 Years

A Catoosa County man convicted of the sexual abuse of five young girls and possession of child pornography has been sentenced to life plus 250 years. James Martin Ferris, 34, was found guilty after a recent trial. The day after his conviction, Judge Ralph Van Pelt set the sentence. Ferris on June 5, 2013, was indicted by the Catoosa County Grand Jury on 46 counts.   ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Glover Not Guilty Of Attempted Aggravated Robbery

A Criminal Court jury on Tuesday night found 22-year-old Imari Glover not guilty of the charge of attempted aggravated robbery. The trial only lasted several hours, and the panel deliberated about two hours. According to police, Glover and two friends made plans to rob the Moe's Southwest Grill on Gunbarrel Road on Nov. 17, 2010. However, they were stopped by police ... (click for more)

Use The Current Rail System Already In Place - And Response

Why spend $20 million or more on an unproven system to run from the Southside of Chattanooga when we already have the beginnings of a system?  The question apparently has surfaced of why the Choo Choo City doesn't have a rail line. We do have a rail line with the Tennessee Valley RR Museum and their hardware. And they already make runs from the Southside to close to Enterprise ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Clemson Prayer And Much More

Clemson’s football program, which has won 11 games in each of the past two years and was ranked 8 th in the nation after whipping Ohio State in this year’s Orange Bowl, has just been “blind-sided.” The Freedom from Religion Foundation claims Coach Dabo Sweeney and his staff are doing far too much “to promote Christianity to their student athletes.” Clemson promptly roared back ... (click for more)