Events Top Stories — 07 December 2016

MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State University’s December 2016 Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, in the CFSB Center and recognize the achievements of 1,195 graduates. Varying from previous years, the event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The Paducah Tilghman High School NJROTC Color Guard will carry out the Presentation of Colors to start the ceremony.

The Mace Bearer is Dr. Daniel Wann, Murray State’s Distinguished Professor and a faculty member in the department of psychology through the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Outstanding Seniors Kimberly Taylor and Dakota Moore will lead the candidates for degrees and will also give the valedictions. Taylor will receive a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a Finance option. Moore will receive a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Science with a Horticulture option. They are both recipients of the Honors Medallion and are graduating summa cum laude.

Faculty Marshals assisting with the ceremony are Professors Susana Bloomdahl, Heath Keller, Michael Kemp, Robert Lyons, Matt Shultz and Gill Welsch.

The faculty will be led in by the recipients of The Regents Teaching Awards for Excellence: Dr. Heath Keller, Jeffrey Wylie, Dr. Jana Hackathorn, Dr. Danielle Nielsen and Dr. Christopher Mecklin.

They will be joined by Presidential Research Fellows Dr. James Duane Bolin and Dr. Bommanna Loganathan, Distinguished Researcher Dr. Howard Whiteman, University Distinguished Mentor Dr. David Pizzo, University Emerging Scholars Dr. Randall Bunker and Dr. Joshua Ridley, Faculty Advisor of the Year Dr. Michelle Santiago and the recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Service award, Dr. Dina Byers.

Murray State President Dr. Robert Davies will preside over the ceremony with a welcome message as well as a Residential College Investiture. Davies, along with Acting Provost Dr. Renae Duncan, will administer the Awarding of Degrees.

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton will deliver the Commencement Address and will receive an honorary doctorate from the University. Thornton earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Murray State and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Thornton is the CEO of DreamCatcher Educational Consulting Service, where she coaches and provides professional development for new college and university presidents. She began serving as president of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland in 1992, retired in 2013 and was presented by the Board of Trustees with the title of president emeritus.

CFSB Center doors open at 8:00 a.m., and attendees are encouraged to arrive early. A limited area of overflow seating will be available outside of the main arena, where guests can view a live video stream of the ceremony in its entirety.

General guest parking is available in the Stewart Stadium parking lot, east of the CFSB Center, off of U.S. Highway 641. Shuttle buses are available to transport guests from the parking lot to the front doors of the CFSB Center beginning at 7:30 a.m. Buses are also available until 1:30 p.m. to return guests to the parking lot.

Guests with accessibility needs may use the parking lot located off of Gilbert Graves Drive as a drop-off zone. An accessible parking tag or special permission will be required to park in the lot. Guests with limited mobility may also be dropped off at this location.

The top two rows of chair seating in the arena are reserved for guests with limited mobility and allow for two additional guests to sit with them. Special seating areas will also be located on each side of the arena. Ushers will be available for assistance.

Special requests regarding accessibility needs can be directed to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Access at 270-809-3155 or the CFSB Center at 270-809-5577 or TDD 270-809-3361.

For those who are unable to attend, the event will be streamed live at Commencement moments can be shared on social media with #RacerGraduation. More information about the event can be found at


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Allie Douglass

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