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110 Received Diplomas During Bluefield University’s 27th Winter Commencement

by | Dec 13, 2018

BLUEFIELD, VA—Ninety-six undergraduate candidates along with 14 graduate candidates received diplomas, Saturday, December 8, during Bluefield University’s 27th Annual Winter Commencement which featured two speeches from distinguished graduates and a keynote address from Dr. Carolyn K. Lewis, the founding Dean of the Bluefield University School of Nursing, read by Dr. Jessica Sharp, Dean of the School of Nursing.

Bluefield University President David Olive welcomed the crowd of family and friends to Harman Chapel for the celebratory event. Dr. Olive spoke about the school’s purpose as a Christ-centered learning community to integrate faith and learning. He also challenged the graduates to be active in living out their faith in meaningful ways of worship, spiritual development, and ministry through involvement in a local church. “As you leave this ceremony today, you should have a sense of calling to vocation that will direct your life with a purpose and that is faithful to your Christian commitments,” Dr. Olive said. “It is our hope that you have moral clarity in your personal life with an appropriate tolerance for others, a strong character, a commitment to be an informed citizen, compassion for the suffering, and sensitivity to national and global issues,” he added. John Beckett, BU Board of Trustees member, offered greetings to the graduates on behalf of the Board. Mr. Beckett left the graduates with the comment, “The tassel is worth the hassle, you made it.”

Dr. Jessica Sharp, Dean of the School of Nursing, read the keynote address remarks from Dr. Carolyn K. Lewis, the founding Dean of the School of Nursing, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Dr. Lewis recalled passing by Bluefield University as a child and seeing the students on campus thinking that one day she would go to college there and later being blessed to be part of the faculty at Bluefield University. “You have marked your right of passage; your graduation will influence your future. Take a moment and look around you. You are surrounded by people, whose lives have shaped yours. Today is about you and celebrating your success. This day marks the end of one great effort and the beginning of another. You have taken on difficult assignments, passed tough exams…but you have arrived,” Lewis wrote.

Carolyn K. Lewis RN, Ph.D., NEA, BC, is a nurse with more than 45 years of experience in health care service and management, administration, association management, and education. In addition, Dr. Lewis was the recipient of a gubernatorial appointment and served as Chair of the Kentucky Apprenticeship and Training Commission. Dr. Lewis also received the Pioneer Nursing award from the Virginia Nurses Association, Governor’s Fellow Award from the Virginia Council of Higher Education and the Distinguished Alumna Award from Mason University. Dr. Lewis asked graduates what they were going to do with the education they worked so hard to achieve noting that they have almost boundless opportunities in front of them commenting, “What in the world needs to change, and what part do you plan in changing it?”

Two distinguished Bluefield University seniors also spoke as part of the Commencement program:  Mr. Evan Abbey, a traditional student from the College of Sciences from Bluefield, West Virginia, and Mrs. Beverly White, of Bluefield Virginia, who graduated in the first online/hybrid Bluefield University Master of Science in Nursing class.

Abbey, who graduated summa cum laude from the honors program, is a third generation Bluefield University student and graduated with degrees in chemistry and biology. He quoted Mark 31 from the Bible and added, “Bluefield University was so much more than just a step to get us where we wanted to be. I found my reason why while at Bluefield University and I hope you found your reason why.” Abbey also acknowledged those who helped him to get to graduation day and encouraged the other graduates to do the same saying, “Think of those who supported you and thank them today.”

White found it daunting to complete her master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in leadership and education two decades after completing her undergraduate degree. She works in emergency medicine at Princeton Community Hospital in Princeton, West Virginia. “The faculty are understanding as they help you navigate the waters of college. At Bluefield University, I was given the foundation upon which to build a new career in instructing new students in this profession,” White said.

The 27th Annual Winter Commencement also included a special prayer from Dr. Doug Minnix, associate professor of exercise and sport science; a scripture reading by Dr. Maria Zalduondo, associate professor of languages; a hymn led by Dr. Charles Priest, associate professor of music;  and the graduates’ induction into the BU Alumni association, led by Alumni Association President Zachary Smith. Dr. John Moir, assistant professor of music, led the graduates in singing the alma mater. Candidates for graduation were presented by Dr. Marshall Flowers, vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Rebecca McCoy-Reese, assistant professor and co-chair of the department of theatre. Bluefield University President Dr. David Olive conferred the degrees.

Winter 2018 candidates for graduation included:

  • Angela Maria Mutter, Grundy, Virginia
  • Jessica Reenee Akers, Lindside, West Virginia
  • Shelley Thornton-Butler, Christiansburg, Virginia
  • Heather Dotson Childress, Clintwood, Virginia
  • Nolie Gregory Conner, Union Hall, Virginia
  • Michael James Dean, Bristol, Virginia
  • Lorinda Dawn Hart, Cool Ridge, West Virginia
  • Joe H. Hendricks, Jr., Princeton, West Virginia
  • Nichole M. Linzy, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
  • Mary Kathleen Long, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
  • Amy Lyn Marshall, Cheraw, South Carolina
  • Savannah Nicole Mullins, Whitesburg, Kentucky
  • Laura Beth Repass, Wytheville, Virginia
  • Beverly Joyce White, Bluefield, Virginia
  • Evan Mark Abbey, Bluefield, West Virginia
  • Dagoberto D. Acevedo, Cojutepeque, El Savador
  • Nathalia Emile De Lima Elias, Belem, Brazil
  • Tyler J. Hutton, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Arminda Kate Dolinger Jones, Bristol, Virginia
  •  Shelbiana Lee Adair, Rocky Gap, Virginia
  • Robert Andrew Altizer, Richlands, Virginia
  • Emily S. Anderson, Bluefield, Virginia
  • Kayla Danielle Anderson, Austinville, Virginia
  • Lauren I. Anderson, Lynch Station, Virginia
  • Tomasa Ceres Asuelo, Bristol, Virginia
  • Samantha Marie Bales, Bluefield, West Virginia
  • Jenna L. Blankenship, Bland, Virginia
  • MaKenzie Jade Bledsoe, Grundy, Virginia
  • Shawna Nicole Bledsoe, Pennington Gap, Virginia
  • Robert Shannon Brewer, Draper, Virginia
  • Amanda Brown, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Paula Francine Brown, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Austin John Browning, Yuma, Arizona
  • Hannah Laken Burnette, Galax, Virginia
  • Dawn M. Camacho, Dublin, Virginia
  • Corbin Cash, Jr., Ashland, Virginia
  • Dustin R. Childress, Grundy, Virginia
  • Nathan Robert Cline, Tazewell, Virginia
  • Mary Denise Smith Cook, Tazewell, Virginia
  • Erin Marie Cunningham, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Courtney Daniel-Newman, Colonial Heights, Virginia
  • Carrie Alane Davison, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Isaiah Zechariah Fenner, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Channel Julia Flores, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Andres R. Fourie, Bluefield, Virginia
  • Andrew Garrett, Glade Spring, Virginia
  • Isiah Marquise Gill, Sontag, Virginia
  • Shannon Graves, Danville, Virginia
  • Kayla Lynn Grubb, Galax, Virginia
  • Amber M. Gurganus, Franklin, Virginia
  • Leyna Starr Hansley, Lexington, Virginia
  • Ellen Burton Hawks, Pearisburg, Virginia
  • Shannon Hayes, Tannersville, Virginia
  • Quante Lovelle Hines, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Danielle Jackson, Marion, Virginia
  • Janelle Knobloch, Friendship, New York
  • Kristen Nicole Lundy, Galax, Virginia
  • Cassandra Eve Miller, Palmyra, Virginia
  • Terry L. Miller, Christiansburg, Virginia
  • Caden Wayne Minnix, Bluefield, Virginia
  • Kenneth John Miranda, Jr., Loxahatchee, Florida
  • Nichole Moore, Bristow, Virginia
  • Morgan KcKinley Olds, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Marlena Gail Owens, Barren Springs, Virginia
  • Amelia Rose Porter, Fort Chiswell, Virginia
  • Rachel Allison Radford, Bland, Virginia
  • Alicia Craig-Reese, Houston, Texas
  • Edgar Reyes, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Trina P. Richardson, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Danielle Nicole Rowland, Christiansburg, Virginia
  • William Antonio Seltz, III, Fontana, California
  • Kelsey Larue Shick, Hyde Park, Pennsylvania
  • Rashad Short, Richmond, Virginia
  • Keith Aaron Shortridge, Oakwood, Virginia
  • Kisha Na Shawn Simmons, Wytheville, Virginia
  • Sarah L. Sparks, Bluefield, Virginia
  • Jessica Dawn Stultz, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Craig A. Thibault, Savannah, Georgia
  • Kenneth Arnold Trent, Jr., Charlotte Court House, Virginia
  • Matthew William Trent, Abingdon, Virginia
  • Brenda H. Vineyard, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Christalina Marie White, Fort Chiswell, Virginia
  • James “Cason” Whitt, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Luzette Demoorea Williams, Tazewell, Virginia
  • Jaclyn Paige Willis, Rocky Gap, Virginia
  • Cynthia Dawn Allen, Richlands, Virginia
  • Chase P. Asbury, Bristol, Virginia
  • Amanda Karie Bowen, Clintwood, Virginia
  • Gerald J. DeLotto, Jr., Roanoke, Virginia
  • Katie Lynn Edmonson, Louisa, Virginia
  • Abby Renee Fischer, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Mariana Foster, Travis AFB, California
  • Naranda Horn, Lebanon, Virginia
  • Jeffrey C. Lay, Callaway, Virginia
  • Brandi Noelle McClellan, Coeburn, Virginia
  • Kelly Miller, Roanoke, Virginia
  • David Morton, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Aldrin Noces, Woodbridge, Virginia
  • Rebecca Sue O’Quinn, Wise, Virginia
  • Meagan Nichole Radford, Ridgeway, Virginia
  • Ashton Elizabeth Rasnick, Bristol, Virginia
  • Kala R. Stapleton, Jonesville, Virginia
  • Heather Paige Stevans, Wise, Virginia
  • Wesley Allen Stickley, Bristol, Tennessee
  • Robby Denton Trivette, Bristol, Tennessee
  • Linda De’Nae Williams, Floyd, Virginia
  • Sunshine K. Wilmoth, Lebanon, Virginia
  • Antonio L. Dawkins, Shelby, North Carolina
Bluefield University

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