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352 receive degrees during Union’s December commencement

Union President David S. Dockery (center) presents the Robert E. Craig Service Award to the Dement family: Katherine and Bill Dement (left) and Beth and Sonny Dement (right). (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Union President David S. Dockery (center) presents the Robert E. Craig Service Award to the Dement family: Katherine and Bill Dement (left) and Beth and Sonny Dement (right). (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

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JACKSON, Tenn.Dec. 14, 2013 – Graduating from Union University is a dangerous act – not for the graduates, but for the culture in which they live, Michael Duduit told Union grads Dec. 14 in the fall commencement service at West Jackson Baptist Church.

“Your time at Union has equipped you to be the kind of influencer who reshapes culture, who can make a defense for the hope that is in you in every walk of life,” said Duduit, dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University. “That makes you dangerous.”

Three-hundred fifty-two students received their degrees during the ceremony, making it the largest December graduation in Union’s history.

As part of the service, Union presented the Robert E. Craig Service Award to the Dement family – Sonny and Beth Dement and Bill and Katherine Dement. The award is named after Union’s 13th president, who led the university for nearly two decades and was responsible for reestablishing Union with the churches of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Craig was also responsible for relocating the university campus to north Jackson.

The Craig Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the university.

The Dements are the owners of Dement Construction Co. Bill currently serves on the Union Board of Trustees. The Dements helped clean the campus following tornadoes in 2002 and 2008 and were involved in key building projects – most notably Miller Tower.

“They have been generous to this institution at all the right times,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “They have helped bring the campus master plan into reality by being a part of those projects along the way.”

Also as part of the ceremony, the university awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree to Dockery, who will soon become the university’s chancellor after serving as president for the past 18 years.

Gene Fant, Union’s executive vice president for academic administration, said that although Dockery has a Doctor of Philosophy degree, the Doctor of Letters is typically seen as an even higher achievement.

“The Doctor of Letters recognizes accomplishments in the fields of scholarship and education that well exceed the norms for professors,” Fant said. “(Dockery) is the very embodiment of a teaching scholar who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of and elucidation of the truth as revealed in Christ.”

Duduit, who served as Union’s executive vice president during the early years of the Dockery administration, said Union graduates are dangerous because they are prepared to combat assertions from “the secular culture-shapers of our age” whose ultimate goal is the banishment of God from the public sector.

“You are dangerous because you have recognized that there is one who stands over and above it all, guiding history yet intimately aware of each individual life,” Duduit said. “That knowledge makes you dangerous, because as you move into new walks of life armed with that worldview, you are a threat to the secularizing forces of the age.”

 

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12/14/13 - Union President David S. Dockery (center) presents the Robert E. Craig Service Award to the Dement family: Katherine and Bill Dement (left) and Beth and Sonny Dement (right).
12/14/13 - Union President David S. Dockery (center) presents the Robert E. Craig Service Award to the Dement family: Katherine and Bill Dement (left) and Beth and Sonny Dement (right). - Morris Abernathy
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery makes final comments at the conclusion of the commencement service for Union University.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery makes final comments at the conclusion of the commencement service for Union University. - Morris Abernathy
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12/14/13 - Ryan Edenfield, Biblical studies languages graduate, waits for the processional with other students at Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Ryan Edenfield, Biblical studies languages graduate, waits for the processional with other students at Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - Abbey Stoker, nursing graduate, looks through the program while waiting for Fall Commencement Services to begin.
12/14/13 - Abbey Stoker, nursing graduate, looks through the program while waiting for Fall Commencement Services to begin. - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - Graduates Jami Humphries, Courtney Hays, Carin Lachiver, and Olivia Wallace chat and laugh together before Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Graduates Jami Humphries, Courtney Hays, Carin Lachiver, and Olivia Wallace chat and laugh together before Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - Families welcome their graduates during the Fall Commencement Services processional at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Families welcome their graduates during the Fall Commencement Services processional at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - The 189th graduating class gathers for Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - The 189th graduating class gathers for Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - The 189th graduating class gathers for Fall Commencement at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - The 189th graduating class gathers for Fall Commencement at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Jerry Tidwell, senior vice president for university relations and athletics, leads the invocation during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Jerry Tidwell, senior vice president for university relations and athletics, leads the invocation during Fall Commencement Services. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, reads scripture as a part of Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, reads scripture as a part of Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, welcomes a full house at the Fall Commencement Services held at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, welcomes a full house at the Fall Commencement Services held at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery welcomes graduates and their guests to Fall Commencement Services held at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery welcomes graduates and their guests to Fall Commencement Services held at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - David Dockery, president of the university, introduces J. Michael Duduit, dean of the College of Christian Studies, Anderson University, who gives the commencement address at Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - David Dockery, president of the university, introduces J. Michael Duduit, dean of the College of Christian Studies, Anderson University, who gives the commencement address at Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, dean of the College of Christian Studies, Anderson University, encourages graduates to 'be dangerous' in the commencement address at Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, dean of the College of Christian Studies, Anderson University, encourages graduates to 'be dangerous' in the commencement address at Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, speaks to graduates during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, speaks to graduates during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Morris Abernathy
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12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, speaks to graduates during  Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, speaks to graduates during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - Olivia Wallace (center), Spanish graduate, listens during the commencement address.
12/14/13 - Olivia Wallace (center), Spanish graduate, listens during the commencement address. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - Marie Adamkova, music graduate, accepts her diploma from David S. Dockery, president of the university, at the Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Marie Adamkova, music graduate, accepts her diploma from David S. Dockery, president of the university, at the Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - Richard Burroughs, nursing graduate, raises his diploma up to his family after receiving it during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church
12/14/13 - Richard Burroughs, nursing graduate, raises his diploma up to his family after receiving it during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - Kristen Fite, nursing graduate, walks back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Kristen Fite, nursing graduate, walks back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, presents Benjamin Fesmire, business administration graduate, with his diploma during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, presents Benjamin Fesmire, business administration graduate, with his diploma during Fall Commencement Services. - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - Amy Little, masters of nursing graduate, walks back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Amy Little, masters of nursing graduate, walks back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Fall Commencement Services. - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - Angela Franklin, masters of Christian studies graduate, looks at her diploma for the first time during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Angela Franklin, masters of Christian studies graduate, looks at her diploma for the first time during Fall Commencement Services. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Latoya Chapman, social work graduate, receives her diploma from David Dockery, president of the university, during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Latoya Chapman, social work graduate, receives her diploma from David Dockery, president of the university, during Fall Commencement Services. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - Tom Drury, mechanical engineering graduate, receives his diploma  during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Tom Drury, mechanical engineering graduate, receives his diploma during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Chelsea Nappier, psychology graduate, receives her diploma during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Chelsea Nappier, psychology graduate, receives her diploma during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Lindsey Lowrie, nursing graduate, accepts her diploma during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Lindsey Lowrie, nursing graduate, accepts her diploma during Fall Commencement Services. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - Faculty, families, and friends give the 189th graduating class a standing ovation following the conferring of degrees and presentation of diplomas at the Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Faculty, families, and friends give the 189th graduating class a standing ovation following the conferring of degrees and presentation of diplomas at the Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - Janice Baldwin, doctor of education graduate, receives her doctoral hood during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Janice Baldwin, doctor of education graduate, receives her doctoral hood during Fall Commencement Services. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, presents J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, with the Robert E. Craig Service Award during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, presents J. Michael Duduit, commencement speaker and dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, with the Robert E. Craig Service Award during Fall Commencement Services. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, makes the Robert E. Craig Service Award presentation to J. Michael Duduit, Dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, makes the Robert E. Craig Service Award presentation to J. Michael Duduit, Dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University. - Morris Abernathy
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, receives an honorary doctorate of letters from the College of Arts and Sciences during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, receives an honorary doctorate of letters from the College of Arts and Sciences during Fall Commencement Services. - Jacob Moore
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, is moved by the presentation of the Doctor of Letters by the College of Arts and Sciences during Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, is moved by the presentation of the Doctor of Letters by the College of Arts and Sciences during Fall Commencement Services. - Morris Abernathy
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, receives his doctoral hood during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, receives his doctoral hood during the Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church - Matt McDaniel
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, accepts the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, accepts the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, expresses his gratitude after receiving an honorary doctor of letters degree during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - David S. Dockery, president of the university, expresses his gratitude after receiving an honorary doctor of letters degree during Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux
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12/14/13 - Chris Mathews, chair of the music department, leads in singing the Alma Mater at the conclusion of Fall Commencement Services.
12/14/13 - Chris Mathews, chair of the music department, leads in singing the Alma Mater at the conclusion of Fall Commencement Services. - Amanda Rohde
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12/14/13 - Graduates sing the alma mater at the end of Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church.
12/14/13 - Graduates sing the alma mater at the end of Fall Commencement Services at West Jackson Baptist Church. - Anne Richoux

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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