JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 4, 2009 – Tennessee Baptist Convention President Danny Sinquefield encouraged Union University graduates to be people characterized by gratitude in his keynote address at Union’s summer commencement ceremony Aug. 1.
“A grateful person is one who never forgets that life is a great gift,” Sinquefield said. “He or she always appreciates others and is constantly reminded of God’s goodness in their own life.”
Two hundred ninety-five students received degrees during the ceremony at West Jackson Baptist Church, bringing the total number of Union University graduates for the 2008-2009 academic year to nearly 1,000 – the largest graduating class in Union’s history.
“This was a high water mark kind of day for the Union University family,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “We are thankful for each student represented in this year’s record number of graduates and wish them well as they move on to the next phase of their lives.”
The service featured the first graduates from Union University Hendersonville and the second class of graduates from Union’s nurse anesthesia program. In addition, Union awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Carl Grant, for whom the Carl Grant Events Center on the Union campus is named.
Grant donated $2.5 million to the project and has been a generous contributor to student scholarships, giving several hundred thousand dollars since 2000 through the Carl J. Grant Gift Fund.
“We especially want to offer our gratitude to Dr. Carl Grant for his ongoing and generous support for Union students,” Dockery said. “It was a true honor for the Union family to recognize and honor him in this most significant way by presenting him with an honorary degree.”
Sinquefield, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., and a Union trustee, told the graduating class that the day was a milestone moment in a great journey that marked not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
“God has promised to compete with you the journey, and to move you forward as you focus on him and serve him,” he said.
As they completed their studies at Union, Sinquefield exhorted them to remember others fondly, to reflect deeply upon their experiences and to respond personally. He told them to be willing to give away what God had abundantly given them.
“This is a day of good news,” Sinquefield said. “It is not right if you keep it all to yourself.”