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Bluefield University Celebrates First Graduating Class

by | Dec 15, 2021

Bluefield, VA – One hundred nine Bluefield University graduates accepted diplomas during the institution’s Winter Centennial Commencement and first commencement ceremony as a university, Saturday, December 11.

Formally Bluefield College, the institution transitioned to Bluefield University in August 2021 as the 100th academic year began.

“There is a lot going on for you today,” Rev. Craig Stout, BU’s secretary of the Board of Trustees, addressed to graduates. “You are currently participating in the first ever commencement of the new Bluefield University. You are the first and you will be able to carry that with you for the rest of your lives.”

The commencement ceremony opened with an invocation from Dr. Henry Clary, BU assistant professor of Christian Studies, followed with scripture reading by Dr. Shellie Brown, faculty president and associate professor of education. President David Olive and Rev. Craig Stout offered greetings to graduates and guests.

Graduates Brooke Osborn and Sherelle Walker Morgan, from the Caudill School of Business, gave student addresses.

Brooke Elaine Osborne is a local of Tazewell County, residing in Tazewell, VA. Brooke began her studies at Bluefield University in the Fall of 2018. She graduated as a business administration major with a concentration in management. She has served in various student leadership roles, including the Student Ambassador program during her time on campus. Osborne plans to continue serving her alma mater as an Enrollment Support Specialist while pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration.

Sherelle Walker Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Virginia and graduated from BU from the Master of Business Administration in Leadership program. Her professional background consists of 19 years of Human Resources leadership experience in Recruiting, Career Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Talent Acquisition. She also holds certifications in 360 Degree Feedback Coaching and Diversity Awareness Training.  She joined the Bluefield University family in 2015 and currently serves in two capacities: Director of Online Admissions and Coordinator for Belonging (appointed last spring). Additionally, Morgan chairs the newly established Diversity & Multicultural Committee.  She also served as advisor to the Black Student Alliance from 2015-2018.

Morgan is originally from Martinsville, VA.  She currently resides in Bluefield, WV with her husband, Richard Morgan, Head Men’s Basketball Coach of the BU Rams. Sherelle and Richard have two sons, Nicholas (22) and Kaleb (17).

“I accepted the invitation to address you today because it’s out of my comfort zone,” Sherelle Morgan addressed to the audience. “Last spring, I delivered a message for our weekly chapel on this very stage about comfort zones. In that message, I talked about how comfort zones are where we feel safe. They’re the people, places, things, and habits we’re accustomed to. I spoke about how we have the tendency to sometimes cling to what is familiar and to avoid the unknown. The main takeaway of that message was growth, excellence, and achievement does not come from within our comfort zones. It comes from taking risks. It comes from experiencing failure. When God asks us to operate outside the scope of our natural gifts, He’s giving us the opportunity to see what happens when He empowers us for His glory.”

Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, President and Provost of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, delivered the Commencement address.

President Olive conferred the 109 degrees. Candidates for graduation for the Winter Centennial Commencement included;

Candidates for Master of Arts in Education:

Hannah Mayo Edwards, Falls Mills, Virginia

Craig Riffe, Lindside, West Virginia

Candidates for Master of Business Administration:

Charity Addington, Weber City, Virginia

Andrew Bailey, Bluefield, West Virginia

Steven Chafin, Pearisburg, Virginia

Christopher Clifton, Rowe, Virginia

Travon Copes, New Church, Virginia

Marlena Kimbleton, Radford, Virginia

Sherelle Walker Morgan, Bluefield, West Virginia

Devan Reeves, Galax, Virginia

Wesley Strock, Bland, Virginia

David Walker, Tazewell, Virginia

Kristen Whelchel, Spotsylvania, Virginia

Candidates for Master of Science in Nursing:

Kristen Cales, Talcott, West Virginia

Melissa Coleman, Bland, Virginia

Melissa Davis, Kopperston, West Virginia

Bryan Fichtner, Reidsville, North Carolina

Christina Johnson Rice, Pearisburg, Virginia

Audra Rogers, Beckley, West Virginia

Tequila Rogers, Beckley, West Virginia

Stacie Scurlock Scott, Beckley, West Virginia

Angela Stroupe, Princeton, West Virginia

Conley White, Beaver, West Virginia

Shauna White, Princeton, West Virginia


Candidates for Bachelor of Arts:

Grecia Almandoz, West Columbia, South Carolina

James Dick, Abington, Virginia

Emma Hyatt, Randleman, North Carolina

Candidates for Bachelor of Science:

Karley Akers, Wytheville, Virginia

Zachary Alford, Marion, Virginia

Dustin Barker, Pound, Virginia

Zaire Brandon, Halifax, Virginia

Lauren Brewster, Bluefield, West Virginia

Lillian Burke, Dublin, Virginia

Jonathon Burton, Bluefield, Virginia

Andrew Carter, Bluefield, Virginia

Michael Christian, Roanoke, Virginia

Halle Cook, Bluefield, Virginia

Samantha Crooks, Montpelier, Virginia

Angelashley Diaz, Rochester, New York

James Dodson, Ridgeway, Virginia

Rose Ejiba, Chantilly, Virginia

Casey Elliott, Giles, Virginia

Michael Ferreira, Abingdon, Virginia

Shade Fraierson, Richmond, Virginia

Rachel Fridley, New Castle, Virginia

Shelrita Hendrix Goode, Hampton, Virginia

Deborah Green, Henrico, Virginia

Ben Hanson, Fincastle, Virginia

Malissa Hartwell, Roanoke, Virginia

Amy Havens, Boones Mill, Virginia

Rebecca Isom, Hiwassee, Virginia

Michaela Jackson, Carroll, Virginia

Jermiah Jenkins, Norfolk, Virginia

Rachel Jenkins, Culpeper, Virginia

Katelyn Robinson Keeling, Marion, Virginia

Samuel Kirtley, Moneta, Virginia

Charlotte Lane, Blacksburg, Virginia

Scarlet Lester, Bluefield, Virginia

Creeden Lumpp, Boones Mill, Virginia

Timothy Martin, Wytheville, Virginia

Candice McDaniel, Norfolk, Virginia

Sarah McKnight, Boston, Virginia

Annalisa Merkle, Bradenton, Florida

Hunter Miller, Manassas, Virginia

William Miller, Bluefield, Virginia

Lenyn Napoleon, Oregon City, Oregon

Stacey Nicholson, Culpeper, Virginia

Brooke Osbourne, North Tazewell, Virginia

Jacob Owens, Whitewood, Virginia

Ariana Parham, Dinwiddie, Virginia

KeDarrius Phinazee, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Leah Plott, Bluefield, Virginia

Leslie Poe, Ivanhoe, Virginia

Noah Reynolds, Rock Hill, South Carolina

Skye’ Royal, Amelia, Virginia

Tessa Saiia, Baraboo, Wisconsin

Farah Schweers, Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany

Sharon Slayton, Roanoke, Virginia

Ryan Smith, Jr., Woodbridge, Virginia

Krystal Sparks, Elk Creek, Virginia

Antonio Stickland, Jr., Jefferson, Georgia

Christopher Sumrall, New Augusta, Mississippi

Sandra Kiser Tatum, Richlands, Virginia

Mya Waller, Ashland, Virginia

Sara Warren, Pikeville, Kentucky

Charnice White, Manassas, Virginia

Brooke Williams, Pocahontas, Virginia

Lavonne Williams, Tazewell, Virginia

William Darryell Williams, Tazewell, Virginia

Brandi Willis, Richlands, Virginia

Candidates for Bachelor of Science in Nursing:

Johnny Blackburn, Jr., Grundy, Virginia

Ashley Christian, Coeburn, Virginia

Danielle Clevinger, Abingdon, Virginia

Emily Harper, Martinsville, Virginia

Jason Hash, Marion, Virginia

Connie Hensley, Abingdon, Virginia

Corey Honaker, Tazewell, Virginia

Kelly Stacy, North Tazewell, Virginia

Lonnie Thomas, Jr., Vansant, Virginia

Candidates for Associate of Science:

Kassidy Bingel, Gainesville, Virginia

Mariah Carr, Palmyra, Virginia

Kourtney Dalton, Bumpass, Virginia

William Hurt, Willis, Virginia

Hannah Nather, Hutchinson, Kansas

Tracy Shelton, Bland, Virginia

Brandy Steele, Christiansburg, Virginia

Kimberly Williams, Montcalm, West Virginia

Jordyn Wilson, Honolulu, Hawaii

The recorded Commencement livestream can be viewed on the Bluefield University YouTube channel.

For media inquiries, please contact the Office of Public Relations and Marketing at [email protected].


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