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MTSU Spring Commencement Features Almost 2,300 Grads, 2 Honorary Doctorates

— MTSU’s upcoming spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, set for Saturday, May 10, will celebrate the culmination of a lifetime of educational accomplishments for almost 2,300 students.

The ceremonies, which will begin at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 10 in Hale Arena inside Murphy Center, also will see the presentations of honorary doctorates to the two guest speakers:

  • Madam Xu Lin of China, director-general of the Confucius Institutes and a vice minister of education.
  • Lt. Gen. William N. “Bill” Phillips, an MTSU alumnus and three-star U.S. Army general.

Xu will address graduates and guests at the morning commencement, and Phillips will speak at the afternoon ceremony.
On May 10, according to a report from the university’s Registrar’s Office, 2,286 students are set to graduate. Of that number, 1,893 are undergraduates and 393 are graduate students, including 337 master’s candidates, 41 education-specialist recipients and 15 doctoral candidates. Two graduate students also will receive graduate certificates.

Candidates from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jones College of Business and the College of Education will receive their degrees in the morning ceremony. That afternoon, degrees will be conferred on candidates in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and the University College.

MTSU’s Graduation Committee also is advising all graduates and guests that ongoing renovations at Murphy Center will cause a few changes for the day. 

Some entrances and seating areas may be closed, building temperatures may be warmer than usual, and the number of guest restrooms will be slightly reduced. The Murphy Center renovations, which include updated concessions and restrooms, a new HVAC system, new arena lighting and a new roof, began in January and are targeted for completion this fall. 

Morning ceremony speaker Xu leads the Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, and serves as chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. During her tenure, the Confucius Institute has expanded to more than 120 countries, including more than 440 Confucius Institutes and 650 Confucius Classrooms. 

Xu received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and a master’s degree from Beijing Normal University. A teacher and administrator before join the Confucius Institute, Xu most recently visited the MTSU campus last fall during a trip to the United States for a national Confucius Institute gathering.

Afternoon speaker Phillips graduated from MTSU in 1976 and earned master’s degrees from Webster University and Troy State University. He is a graduate of Command and General Staff College, Defense Systems Management College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and is a recipient of numerous medals for meritorious service.

A native of Bell Buckle, Tenn., Phillips served as the principal military deputy to the Assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology from 2010 until last month. He will retire from the Army later this summer after 38 years of service. 

The May 10 honorary doctorates mark the third and fourth such presentations by MTSU. Former U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon and the late Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan, both MTSU alumni, received the inaugural honorary Doctor of Letters degrees at the university’s spring 2013 commencement ceremonies.

Students, friends, families and community supporters who attend the May 10 ceremonies should be aware that each event lasts about two hours and that graduating students are required to stay for the entire ceremony. 

Graduation information — including maps and driving directions to Murphy Center, instructions on watching the ceremonies via streaming video on commencement day, cap-and-gown information and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available online at http://www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

Live streaming video of the spring 2014 commencement ceremonies will start about 15 minutes before each ceremony begins on May 10.