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McQueen Urges FHU Graduates to Be Servant Leaders

Henderson, Tennessee - May 15, 2018

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen urged Freed-Hardeman University graduates to see themselves as leaders in her commencement address Saturday, May 12. Although, nine out of 10 individuals in the United States earn a high school diploma or GED, only one-third of them earn a college degree, she said.


“You are expected to provide leadership,” McQueen said. “You have been trained and taught to lead by Freed-Hardeman University.” She urged graduates to become servant leaders by modeling what Jesus did. “Being a leader is now your calling,” she stressed.

McQueen cited her mother, a teacher-leader, and her father, a gospel preacher, as her personal examples of leadership. She also provided examples of leadership among the 2018 graduates and alumni, saying, “Servant leaders are sitting right here today.” She cited 2018 graduate Morgan Lanza for her fundraising efforts with Run4Water and other nonprofits and 2018 graduate Gabby Moore for her leadership in campus activities and mission trips to Marathon, Florida, for hurricane relief and Gulf Shores, Alabama, for community outreach and remodeling of a church building.

Alumni mentioned were Becky Hartle and Dr. Eric Jones. Hartle teaches art, music and theatre for 900 children in the Chester County School System and works with the Henderson Arts Commission to direct about 40 students in a summer theatre camp. Jones, superintendent for Jackson-Madison County Schools, already had a track record of improving schools in Jackson and around the country before he took on the role of JMCSS superintendent, where he is seen as a servant leader.

“Education has the power to change the future,” McQueen said. “Don’t squander it.”

McQueen concluded her remarks by reading a letter her father had written her when she was leaving to pursue a doctoral degree. “Remember folks can take a lot away from you,” he had written, “but no one can take away your education or your faith, so keep going!”

Alex Britt, Lebanon, Tennessee, was named the 2018 winner of the Faculty Scholarship-Leadership Medal. In her four years of attendance, she earned three degrees, two baccalaureate degrees and a graduate degree.  She maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average, while playing volleyball at the intercollegiate level. At awards day this semester, she was named the Outstanding Graduate in Psychology and the winner of the ACBSP Student Leadership Award presented by the FHU College of Business.

The faculty has presented this medal, the highest recognition it bestows, annually since 1938. The winner is determined by a vote of the entire faculty. A cash award accompanies the medal.

Approximately 300 students received their degrees during the ceremony. The number included three Doctor of Education degrees presented to Tennessee residents Colette Domiano Carrabba from Henderson, Clinton David Pulse, from Essary Springs; and Rona R. Walker, from Millington. An additional 60 students received other graduate degrees. Baccalaureate degrees were conferred on more than 230 students.

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson, Memphis and Dickson, FHU offers bachelor's, master's, specialist's and doctoral degrees.