Academics // March 2, 2021

Freed-Hardeman University honored 2020 spring and winter graduates at separate ceremonies Saturday, Nov. 21, in Loyd Auditorium.

Degrees were conferred upon August and November graduates at 10 a.m. Fifty-six received baccalaureate degrees, while 37 completed graduate degrees. Six doctoral students received their degrees during the morning ceremony.

A ceremony recognizing the May graduates was conducted at 2 p.m. Degrees had already been conferred upon May’s 260 undergraduates and 83 graduate students. Commencement exercises for the May 2020 graduates had been twice postponed because of COVID-19. Former FHU First Lady Laurel Sewell spoke at the 2 p.m. celebration.

Sewell noted three wishes she had for graduates. First, she asked that they “remember what needs to be remembered and forget what needs to be forgotten.” Secondly, she said, she wished for graduates “to be filled with the love of knowledge and learning, but to be hungry for the understanding and integrity that make knowledge a force for good.” Finally, she said, she wished for them to keep their balance. “Family and career are going to require balance like you’ve never known before.”

She continues to work with her husband, former President and now Chancellor Milton Sewell, in entertaining guests of the university and speaking on behalf of Christian education. She is very active with the FHU Associates, a group she has served as national president and in other offices.

Sewell is a graduate of Mars Hill Bible School and Florence State College, now University of North Alabama. A frequent speaker at ladies’ days and at lectureships, she is also the author of  “The Six Gifts of Hospitality” and has contributed articles to several Christian publications.

Tyler Alverson, a December 2019 summa cum laude graduate, was the recipient of last year’s Faculty Scholarship-Leadership Medal.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bible with an emphasis in preaching and is currently pursing the Master of Divinity. He is also a graduate assistant in the Graduate School of Theology and the pulpit minister of the Red Walnut Church of Christ. The presentation would normally have been made in May 2020 but was delayed because of COVID and the early end of the spring semester.

One of Alverson’s major professors described him as “intelligent, but humble; efficient, but compassionate; driven to succeed, but always willing to serve.” In four years of competition in cross country and track, he earned conference and national recognition.

Coach Derrick Spradlin said Alverson is “unique in that his athletic excellence matches his leadership qualities; he is gracious, humble and quick to joke around. No bragging, no complaining. He leads by example, cheering on his teammates and congratulating the top runners from other schools. He embraces the grind.” He was also the recipient of the Heart of a Lion Award given annually by FHU’s intercollegiate athletics program.