Freed-Hardeman University conferred associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or specialist degrees on 221 students in commencement exercises Saturday, May 14. Elizabeth Gentle, a reporter/news anchor for WAFF, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Ala., delivered the address for the day.
Gentle used her personal experiences to encourage graduates to persevere. She spoke of high school teachers who told her she would not make it to college, but she graduated from Freed-Hardeman in 1996 with a degree in communication. She recounted sending out hundreds of resumes and getting little response. Years later, however, she was able to turn down a job offer from someone who had told her she should probably change her career. She told graduates to “make lots of mistakes, help others, hold your tongue, and be unafraid of humble beginnings.”
Dr. Sam Jones, FHU vice president for academics, presented the Faculty Scholarship-Leadership Medal to Ethan Bilbrey, a summa cum laude graduate. The medal is presented annually, according to the catalog, “to the student in the graduating class who possesses to the highest degree the following attributes: ability, quality of work, accuracy, and love of knowledge.” The winner is chosen by a vote of the faculty. Bilbrey, a Bible major, plans to do mission work in Cusco, Peru.
FHU President Joe Wiley recognized three retiring members of the FHU faculty prior to the address. They were: Dr. Bob Brown, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science; Dr. John Collins, history professor; and Dr. Allen Walker, professor of mathematics and computer science.