Governor Haslam To Speak To Lee Graduates, Receive Doctorate Saturday

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lee University will award Governor Bill Haslam an honorary doctorate when he delivers their winter commencement address on the Cleveland campus this weekend, officials announced Thursday. 

“We are honored that the governor is taking time to come and speak to our graduates,” said Lee President Paul Conn, “and we feel it’s the perfect opportunity to recognize the governor’s many years of exceptional service in public life. We are glad he has agreed to accept this degree, a Doctor of Laws, as part of Saturday’s ceremony.” 

Dr. Conn explained that the Doctor of Laws degree is the honorary degree most commonly given to recognize accomplishment in government.  It is the first time Lee has given such a degree to an elected official, and only the thirteenth honorary degree the school has awarded in the past 25 years.

Saturday’s commencement ceremony at Lee is the first of three graduations during the school year.  The university will confer bachelors and masters degrees to 275 graduates, a record number for the December graduation.  “It’s shaping up to be a big day,” Conn continued, “a major milestone for a lot of students and their families.  We are grateful Governor Haslam will be here to be a part of that moment. 

“Lee University places a strong emphasis on serving others.  Our graduates this weekend have been taught the importance of service since they arrived on campus as freshmen.  It makes sense for us to bestow an honor like this on such an exemplary public servant as Governor Haslam.”

In addition to Governor Haslam’s commencement address, the graduates and their guests will hear music by the Lee University Chorale.  A full house is expected in the 1800-seat Conn Center, and the 500-seat Dixon Center next door will be linked via widescreen video.  In addition, the ceremony is being live-streamed on the university website, www.leeuniversity.edu/video.

“We know Governor Haslam will provide our graduates with a wonderful example of a successful businessman who left private business to serve the public in government leadership,” Dr. Conn said.  “We are complimented that he would come to participate in our commencement, of course, but we also believe he can offer an important challenge to our graduates, whatever their political affiliation.”

Governor Haslam, who was elected to be Tennessee’s governor in 2010, is a native of Knoxville. He graduated from Emory University as a history major in 1980.  Working in his family business, Pilot Corporation, he eventually became president of that company.  He was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and served in that office until his run for the governorship.

Governor Haslam and his wife Crissy have two daughters and a son. They are members of the Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, where he served as an elder for 22 years.


New Communications Arts Building Nearing Completion At Lee University

Main Street Cleveland members got a preview tour of Lee University's nearly-finished Communications Arts Building Monday. "We wanted it to look great all the way around," Dr. Jerome Hammond, vice president for university relations, told those touring the 41,000 square foot building. The structure will be a prominent part of downtown. One foyer opens onto the Ocoee St. and Central ... (click for more)

University Hosts Award-Winning Author Janisse Ray

Award-winning author, naturalist, and activist Janisse Ray will give a talk on the UTC campus about heirloom seeds, agrodiversity and the future of food. The event is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Raccoon Mountain Room of the UTC University Center. This program is presented by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Wild Ones and UTC Department of Biological and Environmental ... (click for more)

Erlanger Health System Projecting $10.8 Million Profit - With Help From $19 Million In Federal Funds

Erlanger Health System is projecting a $10.8 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year - with the help of $19 million in federal funds from a pool for public hospitals. The $19 million received in time for the current budget helped avoid a sizable deficit. The hospital is hoping the federal funds will be coming on an annual basis. At the start of the last fiscal year, ... (click for more)

History Center Gets $400,000 Grant From National Endowment For The Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded grants totaling more than $800,000 to three Tennessee projects that aim to display and preserve historical materials. Winning grants Monday included the Chattanooga History Center, which will get $400,000 to install a permanent, multimedia exhibit on the history of Chattanooga. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will ... (click for more)

I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.    My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Judge Philyaw Is The Best

Tomorrow morning there will be a special gathering at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that will prove to our community that we have perhaps the most innovative juvenile judge in America. Shortly after Rob Philyaw was hand-picked by our Hamilton County Commissioners to fill the remainder of Suzanne Bailey’s term 15 months ago, he found that truancy was a big problem in our schools. ... (click for more)