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Union graduates largest class in history at 185th spring commencement

Union President David S. Dockery presents the Elizabeth Tigrett Medal to Matthew Kuchem during the spring graduation ceremony May 22. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Union President David S. Dockery presents the Elizabeth Tigrett Medal to Matthew Kuchem during the spring graduation ceremony May 22. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

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JACKSON, Tenn.May 22, 2010 – Nearly 530 Union University graduates received degrees May 22 on the university’s Great Lawn during the 185th annual spring commencement ceremony.

That brings to 1,130 the number of Union graduates from the class of 2010 – the largest class in Union’s history, surpassing last year’s total of 975 graduates. The class of 2010 represented 25 states and 13 different countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Iceland, Honduras, Brazil and others.

“We are blessed once again with an outstanding graduating class, and are thankful for each and every one of our graduates,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “I know you will join me in praying for God’s blessing and direction for them in the days ahead.”

This year’s class included the first graduates from Union’s Master of Social Work program and from Union’s graduate program in urban education.

Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., delivered the keynote address and charged Union graduates to be radically committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to watch what God would do with their lives.

Rainer, who has researched the generation known as “Millennials,” or young adults born between 1980-2000, for an upcoming book, said that only about 10 percent of that generation are Christians.

“You are a decided minority,” Rainer told the Union graduates. “How then will you live?”

Rainer read the biblical account of Jesus healing 10 lepers, with only one of the 10 returning to thank him, and challenged the graduates to be like the one man rather than the other nine.

“God has given you an incredible opportunity,” Rainer said. “Show the world that you’re different. Seek to serve rather than to be served. … Though you are few in number, you can turn the world upside down.”

As part of the ceremony, Matthew Kuchem, a graduate from Fort Worth, Texas, who majored in political science and broadcast journalism, received the university’s Elizabeth Tigrett Medal. The award, created by Tigrett’s son to honor his mother, has been awarded since 1912 by vote of the entire Union faculty to an outstanding member of the senior class.

Union also honored Rainer by inducting him into the Carl F.H. Henry Society of Fellows. Dockery praised Rainer for his leadership at LifeWay, especially in the days after the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado that decimated the Union campus. Only days after the tornado hit, Rainer led LifeWay’s trustees to pledge $350,000 to Union for the rebuilding effort.

“For that, Dr. Rainer, all of us on this campus will always be grateful,” Dockery said. “We thank God for you.”

 

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5/22/10 - Ashley Nabors, nursing major and Sarah Stinson, English major pose by Union art before they participate in the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Ashley Nabors, nursing major and Sarah Stinson, English major pose by Union art before they participate in the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Graduates line up before they go to their seats for the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduates line up before they go to their seats for the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Graduating seniors Margaret Broersma, theatre/speech major, and Jill Brown, French major, laugh in the line before the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduating seniors Margaret Broersma, theatre/speech major, and Jill Brown, French major, laugh in the line before the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Tacuma Alexander,sport management graduate, and Chanel Watson,business administration graduate, proceed to spring 2010 graduation ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Tacuma Alexander,sport management graduate, and Chanel Watson,business administration graduate, proceed to spring 2010 graduation ceremonies. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Michael Grubb, graduating English major, looks during the processional to the 2010 graduation ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Michael Grubb, graduating English major, looks during the processional to the 2010 graduation ceremonies. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduate students receiving their Masters degrees proceed to the 2010 commencement ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Graduate students receiving their Masters degrees proceed to the 2010 commencement ceremonies. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Friends and family of 2010 graduates used umbrellas to shield themselves from the intense sun at the commencement ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Friends and family of 2010 graduates used umbrellas to shield themselves from the intense sun at the commencement ceremonies. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduates wait in anticipation for the spring 2010 commencement ceremonies to begin.
5/22/10 - Graduates wait in anticipation for the spring 2010 commencement ceremonies to begin. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Noah Arnold, graduating history major, waves to family and friends during the processional for the 2010 spring commencement ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Noah Arnold, graduating history major, waves to family and friends during the processional for the 2010 spring commencement ceremonies. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Shemeka Davis, graduating nursing major, smiles during the processional to spring 2010 commencement ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Shemeka Davis, graduating nursing major, smiles during the processional to spring 2010 commencement ceremonies. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - 2010 Spring Commencement Ceremony
5/22/10 - 2010 Spring Commencement Ceremony - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Spring 2010 Commencement Ceremony
5/22/10 - Spring 2010 Commencement Ceremony - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Chase Techentin, sophomore music major, plays trumpet during the 2010 Spring Commencement Ceremony.
5/22/10 - Chase Techentin, sophomore music major, plays trumpet during the 2010 Spring Commencement Ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Music majors Chase Techentin and Thomas Hale play their trumpets to welcome the graduates at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Music majors Chase Techentin and Thomas Hale play their trumpets to welcome the graduates at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Friends and family of 2010 graduates listen as Dr. David S. Dockery introduces the speaker for the Spring commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Friends and family of 2010 graduates listen as Dr. David S. Dockery introduces the speaker for the Spring commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduates bow in prayer and thanksgiving at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduates bow in prayer and thanksgiving at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Union University Singers are led by Christopher Mathews in
5/22/10 - Union University Singers are led by Christopher Mathews in "Prayer of the Middle Ages," as part of the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Computer science graduate Toyin Adedokun listens to the speaker at the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Computer science graduate Toyin Adedokun listens to the speaker at the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Social work majors Rachel Phillips and Leslie Ragon show excitement at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Social work majors Rachel Phillips and Leslie Ragon show excitement at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Along with other graduates, Josh Allen and Joseph Ball bow their heads during the invocation led by James Shaddix.
5/22/10 - Along with other graduates, Josh Allen and Joseph Ball bow their heads during the invocation led by James Shaddix. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, lead the processional of students and faculty to the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, lead the processional of students and faculty to the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Amy Brown, graduating Biblical studies major, walks in the processional for the 2010 spring commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Amy Brown, graduating Biblical studies major, walks in the processional for the 2010 spring commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Courtney Bragg happily anticipates graduating along with classmates Noah Arnold and Blair Hoglen at the 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Courtney Bragg happily anticipates graduating along with classmates Noah Arnold and Blair Hoglen at the 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Students receiving their Masters degrees walk in the processional to the 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Students receiving their Masters degrees walk in the processional to the 2010 graduation ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Dr. Steven Carls, University Professor of History and Department Chair, laughs as he stands for the processional at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Dr. Steven Carls, University Professor of History and Department Chair, laughs as he stands for the processional at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Union University's Spring 2010 commencement ceremony where nearly 530 students graduated.
5/22/10 - Union University's Spring 2010 commencement ceremony where nearly 530 students graduated. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Union University's Spring 2010 Commencement Ceremony where nearly 530 students graduated.
5/22/10 - Union University's Spring 2010 Commencement Ceremony where nearly 530 students graduated. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Masters students wait to receive their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Masters students wait to receive their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - James Shaddix, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Colorado, gives the invocation for the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - James Shaddix, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Colorado, gives the invocation for the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, welcomes friends and family of graduates for the 2010 spring commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, welcomes friends and family of graduates for the 2010 spring commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Noah Arnold receives his diploma from Dr. David S. Dockery at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Noah Arnold receives his diploma from Dr. David S. Dockery at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Students receiving their masters degrees wait anxiously to walk across the stage for their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Students receiving their masters degrees wait anxiously to walk across the stage for their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Chanel Watson, graduating business administration major, holds up her shoes after receiving her diploma. Watson unintentionally provided some entertainment for the spring 2010 commencement ceremony when she lost her shoes on stage.
5/22/10 - Chanel Watson, graduating business administration major, holds up her shoes after receiving her diploma. Watson unintentionally provided some entertainment for the spring 2010 commencement ceremony when she lost her shoes on stage. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Josh Allen, graduating Christian studies major, high-fives classmates as he waits in the graduation line at the Spring 2010 Graduation Ceremony.
5/22/10 - Josh Allen, graduating Christian studies major, high-fives classmates as he waits in the graduation line at the Spring 2010 Graduation Ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduating seniors check out their diplomas after receiving them at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduating seniors check out their diplomas after receiving them at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Hilmar Jonathan Skagfield, graduating philosophy major, excitedly displays the cover where his diploma will go will he completes his July classes.
5/22/10 - Hilmar Jonathan Skagfield, graduating philosophy major, excitedly displays the cover where his diploma will go will he completes his July classes. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Masters graduates enjoy looking at their diplomas after receiving them at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Masters graduates enjoy looking at their diplomas after receiving them at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - 2010 graduates sing the Alma Mater at the close of the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - 2010 graduates sing the Alma Mater at the close of the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduates make time for prayer and thanksgiving at the close of the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduates make time for prayer and thanksgiving at the close of the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/22/10 - Graduating art major, Katy Pope, reviews her diploma after receiving it during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduating art major, Katy Pope, reviews her diploma after receiving it during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Mathematics graduate, Peter Boedeker, proudly displays his diploma after receiving it during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Mathematics graduate, Peter Boedeker, proudly displays his diploma after receiving it during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - A few students decoratively represent national flags on their graduation caps at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - A few students decoratively represent national flags on their graduation caps at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Nursing graduates Elizabeth Matlock and Raquel Mack share excitement with friends at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Nursing graduates Elizabeth Matlock and Raquel Mack share excitement with friends at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Cheryl Propst, graduating elementary education major, receives her diploma during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Cheryl Propst, graduating elementary education major, receives her diploma during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Masters graduates wait to receive their diplomas during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Masters graduates wait to receive their diplomas during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Elizabeth Johnson happily looks back at friends and family after receiving her master of business administration at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Elizabeth Johnson happily looks back at friends and family after receiving her master of business administration at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Masters graduates review their diplomas during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Masters graduates review their diplomas during the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Becky Drace, graduating social work major, celebrates by showing off her diploma at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Becky Drace, graduating social work major, celebrates by showing off her diploma at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - David Kissell, Christian studies graduate, shows off his diploma at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - David Kissell, Christian studies graduate, shows off his diploma at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Faculty members watch as graduating seniors receive their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Faculty members watch as graduating seniors receive their diplomas at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Matthew Brunett, director of wellness services, receives his doctorate degree during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Matthew Brunett, director of wellness services, receives his doctorate degree during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Mario R. Keys, Sr. receives his doctorate during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Mario R. Keys, Sr. receives his doctorate during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Jennifer Wyatt receives her doctorate degree during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Jennifer Wyatt receives her doctorate degree during the Spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Kristen Dutt, graduating Christian studies major, gives a speech at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony as the senior class president.
5/22/10 - Kristen Dutt, graduating Christian studies major, gives a speech at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony as the senior class president. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, presents graduating broadcast journalism major, Matthew Kuchem, with the Tigrett Medal at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Dr. David S. Dockery, president of Union University, presents graduating broadcast journalism major, Matthew Kuchem, with the Tigrett Medal at the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Morris Abernathy
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5/22/10 - Class of 2010 graduates stand to conclude the commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Class of 2010 graduates stand to conclude the commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Faculty members sing the Alma Mater to conclude the Spring 2010 commencement ceremonies.
5/22/10 - Faculty members sing the Alma Mater to conclude the Spring 2010 commencement ceremonies. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Graduates in the class of 2010 pray as they conclude the spring commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Graduates in the class of 2010 pray as they conclude the spring commencement ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Kaitie Johnson and Bradley Kiddie congratulate Matthew Kuchem, who was awarded the Tigrett Medal at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Kaitie Johnson and Bradley Kiddie congratulate Matthew Kuchem, who was awarded the Tigrett Medal at the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Philip Johnsen, Jordan Howerton, and Jordan Float hold up Business Administration graduate, Ben Peacock, after the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Philip Johnsen, Jordan Howerton, and Jordan Float hold up Business Administration graduate, Ben Peacock, after the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - Natalie West, public relations graduate, celebrates with her family after the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - Natalie West, public relations graduate, celebrates with her family after the Spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Beth Spain
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5/22/10 - TESL graduate Melissa Jepsen celebrates with friend Alice Nettles following the spring 2010 graduation ceremony.
5/22/10 - TESL graduate Melissa Jepsen celebrates with friend Alice Nettles following the spring 2010 graduation ceremony. - Ebbie Davis
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5/22/10 - Theatre/Speech graduate, Margaret Broersma, hugs friends and family after the spring 2010 commencement ceremony.
5/22/10 - Theatre/Speech graduate, Margaret Broersma, hugs friends and family after the spring 2010 commencement ceremony. - Abigail Harris
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5/21/10 - Shameka Davis, nursing major and other graduating seniors register at the senior luncheon held in honor of Spring 2010 graduating seniors.
5/21/10 - Shameka Davis, nursing major and other graduating seniors register at the senior luncheon held in honor of Spring 2010 graduating seniors. - Ebbie Davis
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5/21/10 - The 2010 graduating seniors pile their plates high with bar-b-que sandwiches and sides at the graduation reception held in their honor.
5/21/10 - The 2010 graduating seniors pile their plates high with bar-b-que sandwiches and sides at the graduation reception held in their honor. - Ebbie Davis
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5/21/10 - Elizabeth Wood, public relations major speaks with Dean Gregory Thornbury at the senior luncheon held at Union prior to graduation the next day.
5/21/10 - Elizabeth Wood, public relations major speaks with Dean Gregory Thornbury at the senior luncheon held at Union prior to graduation the next day. - Ebbie Davis
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5/21/10 - Graduating seniors enjoy time together at the Last-Hurrah, a luncheon held in their honor.
5/21/10 - Graduating seniors enjoy time together at the Last-Hurrah, a luncheon held in their honor. - Ebbie Davis
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5/21/10 - Graduating seniors Michael Grubb, Kevin Bradley, and Justin Hobbs talk over lunch at The Last Hurrah, a luncheon held in honor of graduating seniors.
5/21/10 - Graduating seniors Michael Grubb, Kevin Bradley, and Justin Hobbs talk over lunch at The Last Hurrah, a luncheon held in honor of graduating seniors. - Ebbie Davis
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5/21/10 - Graduating seniors laugh as they hold their new Union Alumni license plates after receiving them at The Last Hurrah, a luncheon held in honor of graduating seniors.
5/21/10 - Graduating seniors laugh as they hold their new Union Alumni license plates after receiving them at The Last Hurrah, a luncheon held in honor of graduating seniors. - Ebbie Davis

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

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