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Two MTSU Alumni Will Address 1,970-plus Grads at Dec. 14 Commencement Events


A special pair of MTSU alumni will be on hand Saturday, Dec. 14, to celebrate with an estimated 1,977 students receiving their degrees in two fall 2013 commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center.

Mary Esther Reed, the first female mayor of Smyrna, Tenn., and holder of three education degrees from MTSU, is the guest speaker for the university’s 9 a.m. commencement ceremony Dec. 14. 

State Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, a 1976 MTSU graduate and recipient of one of the university’s 1991 Distinguished Alumni Awards, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Students from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Education will receive their degrees in the morning ceremony. That afternoon, students in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and the University College will receive their degrees.

MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend in person can watch each event live online via streaming video on Dec. 14. The live commencement coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts; visit http://ow.ly/rwxOz for a link to the video feed and more details. 

MTSU’s Registrar’s Office reported this week that 1,656 of the 1,977 students set to graduate Dec. 14 are undergraduates and 321 are graduate students, including 297 master’s candidates, 14 education-specialist recipients and six doctoral candidates. Four graduate students also will receive graduate certificates.

Reed, who has served on the Smyrna Town Council since 2003, earned her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education from MTSU in 1992, then received a master’s degree in education administration and supervision in 1994 and an education specialist’s degree in 1996. 

She started her teaching career in 1992 as a classroom teacher, serving students at John Colemon Elementary and Smyrna Primary schools. For the past 11 years, she has owned and operated the Learning Circle, a Murfreesboro retail educational supply store serving teachers and parents in the Middle Tennessee area.

Reed has been active in Smyrna and Rutherford County organizations as well as at her alma mater. She has served as president of MTSU’s National Alumni Association and Blue Raider Athletic Association and the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County, and she’s worked on numerous local boards, including StoneCrest Medical Center, the MTSU Foundation, the Linebaugh Library Foundation and the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

Ketron, who represents the 13th District in the Tennessee General Assembly, is the Senate Republican caucus chair and serves on that body’s State and Local Government Committee, Finance, Ways and Means Committee and the Select Committee on Ethics. 

The Murfreesboro insurance company owner studied political science and history at MTSU and has maintained close ties to his alma mater — he cofounded and was the first president of the Blue Raider Athletic Association. His service also includes past presidencies of the National Exchange Club, the Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the Rutherford County Volunteer Fire Department. 

Among Ketron’s awards and honors are his selection as Advocate of the Year by the American Heart Association and recognition as a leading Tennessee legislator by the Tennessee Cable Communications Association, the South Central Development District, the Greater Nashville Regional Council and the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association.

According to the MTSU Graduation Committee, all graduating students are required to stay for their entire commencement ceremony. Each ceremony should last about two hours. 

Graduation information — including maps and driving directions to Murphy Center, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at http://www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

State Senator Bill Ketron

You also can view a PDF of the complete 40-page Dec. 14 commencement program at http://ow.ly/rwy2d.