Cumberland University Celebrates Largest Graduating Class in 180-Year History


Cumberland University hosted its 180th Commencement Ceremony, celebrating the largest graduating class in school history. The ceremonies honored 717 graduates, the largest number in the university’s history.

The Master’s Ceremony and Hooding took place at the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena on Friday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. and the Undergraduate Ceremony was held on Memorial Lawn on Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m.

“The annual Commencement Ceremonies are my favorite part of the academic year,” said Cumberland University President Dr. Paul C. Stumb. “It is a time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our graduates as they conclude this chapter of their academic journey. On behalf of the entire Cumberland community, I would like to congratulate each of this year’s 717 graduates, and welcome them to the Cumberland Alumni Association.”

The processional included Vice President of Finance Judy Jordan as the macebearer, followed by the 2021-2022 Student Government Officers, Clarissa Gadsey, president, Abigail Beckett, vice president, Allison Spring, secretary, Arsheen Shroff, treasurer and Amber Trail, treasurer. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. William McKee formally announced the 180th commencement assembly and the invocation was led by Darryl Crouch, Director of Everyone’s Wilson. The “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by the Cumberland Chorale and University Singers, led by Sandy Elliott, Director of Choirs.

Cumberland University President Dr. Paul Stumb welcomed the graduates and congratulated them on the hard work and dedication that has led to their success. Cumberland Board of Trust Chairman W.P. Bone, III; Faculty Senate President and Assistant Professor of Art Dr. Peg Fredi, Student Government President Lilith Johnson and keynote speaker Congressman John Rose all spoke words of congratulations and encouragement to the graduates.

Awards were presented to students, community leaders and alumni in honor of their accomplishments. The following awards were presented: Faculty Award of Excellence: Aleasha Martin Chaw; President’s Award: Willian Romero; Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award: Nicole Carey; Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for Community Service: Cumberland University Trustee Dr. Michael J. Spalding; President’s Award for Teaching Excellence: Dr. Karah Sprouse; Award of Excellence in the Millard and JJ Oakley School of Humanities, Education and the Arts: Dr. Deputy Chief Dwayne Greene and Deputy Chief Natalie Kay Lokey; Award of Excellence in the Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions: Nathan Johnson; Award of Excellence in the Labry School of Science, Technology and Business: Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez; Rising Phoenix Award: Josh Crouch.

Each graduate was given a commemorative coin prior to the ceremony and asked to give the coin as they walked across the stage, as their first official gift back to the university. This is the second year of this coin tradition, and this year’s coins were sponsored by Cedarstone Bank and Wilson Bank and Trust.

After the conferral of earned degrees, those in attendance sang the Cumberland University alma mater. The benediction came from University Chaplain Mike Ripski and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. William McKee closed the ceremony.

For more information on Cumberland’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony, visit

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