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,

“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.

Lee University Food Bank Receives Grant From Food Lion

Food Lion awarded a $5,000 grant to Lee University’s Food Bank.  A group of representatives from Food Lion and the Chattanooga Area Food Bank visited the university to volunteer on campus for the day.  As part of its “Feed Great Pantry Makeover” initiative, Food Lion contacted the Chattanooga Area Food Bank for recommendations for the grant. After being considered with ... (click for more)

Belvoir Christian Academy Holds Fall Festival

Belvoir Christian Academy held its Fall Festival to help raise funds for its Parent-Teacher League. The event has been an annual tradition in the community for over 60 years and helps the parent group purchase "Teacher Wish List" items for classrooms as well as update technology within the school.  The event included a variety of games and crafts as well as vendors, ... (click for more)

Attorney Patrick Says Chattanooga Is "Most Logical Place" For Consolidating Volkswagen Lawsuits; Hearing Set Dec. 3

Attorney Gary Patrick said Chattanooga is "the most logical place for consolidating the Volkswagen litigation because it is the only location in the country where VW vehicles are being produced." Attorney Patrick, of the local firm of Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway, said a hearing is set Dec. 3 in New Orleans on the issue. A host of lawsuits seeking class action status ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed To Death On Hooker Road; Man Injured; Suspect Being Interviewed

A young woman was stabbed to death on Hooker Road early Friday morning and a man was injured. At approximately 1:54 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a stabbing at the 4000 block of Hooker Road. There police located Angel Evans, 33, deceased. She was stabbed multiple times. A second person, Gerald Nelson, 24, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening ... (click for more)

The Facts About Jail

Since Roy had such a positive reaction to Jeffrey Cross's wonderful (and wonderfully civil--how refreshing) email response to his column on the bike lanes, allow me to speak on the subject of the jail.  First off, Roy's right about some things:  It is overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.  This is no secret, it's in the Grand Jury report every term.  Here's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffle bag full of automatic attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)