“I want you to live a life of distinction,” John Law, chief operating officer of property and casualty operations at Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee, told more than 250 Freed-Hardeman University graduates Saturday, May 16, at the university’s commencement exercises.
Law, who is also vice chairman of the FHU Board of Trustees, urged graduates to “begin now a higher level of learning, both formally and informally.” Graduate degrees and professional designations are marks of distinction, he said. He also told them to begin learning on their own. “Decide now whether you want a job or a career,” he said, recommending they choose to develop a satisfying career.
A 1989 graduate of FHU, Law also encouraged graduates to “begin now a transition from beneficiary to benefactor, from receiver to giver.” He reminded graduates that the buildings they had lived and studied in all bore the names of individuals who were givers. “Become intentional in your giving,” he said.
“Immerse yourself in the success of others,” Law said. “It’s biblical and it’s refreshing in a cynical world.” He concluded his remarks by reading a prayer written by Gen. Douglas MacArthur for his son.
On behalf of the faculty, Vice President of Academics and Enrollment Management C.J. Vires presented the Faculty Scholarship-Leadership Medal to Morghan Parker, Portland, Tennessee, who graduated summa cum laude and with college honors. She received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She also met the requirements for pre-engineering and has been accepted into the chemical engineering program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
As an FHU student, Parker was a supplemental instructor in chemistry, did computational research and interned at UT. She was a member of Alpha Chi and the Honors College and served as president of the campus chapter of the American Chemical Society Chemistry Club. She also had leadership roles in other campus activities and volunteered at church and in the community. “This student has the humble heart of a servant,” Vires said.
Awarded since 1938, the medal is the highest honor bestowed by the FHU faculty. It goes to the student in the graduating class who possesses to the highest degree the attributes of ability, quality of work, accuracy, love of knowledge and leadership. The selection is made by a vote of the entire faculty.
FHU President Joe Wiley paid tribute to the faculty for their hard work and dedication to the success of students. In particular, he congratulated Dr. Clyde Woods, a member of the Bible faculty, who retired after 50 years of teaching and mentoring Bible students. Woods carried the mace and led the faculty processional.