JACKSON, Tenn. – May 23, 2005 – A record 415 students graduated from Union University during commencement exercises May 21 at the university’s campus in Jackson, Tenn.
“This year’s commencement service was a time of celebration for 415 outstanding graduates and their families,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “This year’s class, which will include more than 900 graduates in all three graduations services, is by far the largest graduating class in Union’s long history. We give thanks for these wonderfully prepared students and wish God’s best for them in coming days.”
This year’s class included the first graduates from Union’s new engineering program. Five students received their bachelor of science degrees in engineering.
Physics major Brian Taylor, of Portageville, Mo., received the Elizabeth Tigrett Medal during the ceremony. 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.
“In nearly a decade of leadership at Union University I have seen some amazingly gifted and dedicated students graduate from this place,” Dockery said. “No student in my memory has applied himself to his studies and maximized his intellectual gifts like Brian Taylor. He is a most worthy recipient of this year’s Tigrett Award, which recognizes a student for excellence and dedication in the areas of character, spiritual commitment, scholarship and service.”
Taylor has received a full fellowship and a $23,000 per year stipend for the next five years to do cancer research at M.D. Anderson hospital in Houston, Texas, the premier cancer research center in the country. His work will result in a doctorate from the University of Texas system in medical physics.
Other Union graduates from the class of 2005 have also distinguished themselves academically and will pursue graduate degrees at prestigious schools.
For example, Kevin Minister and Meredith Williams, who will marry May 27, have each earned a full-tuition scholarship to study theology at Boston University. Matt Crawford, who was one of nine students nationally to receive an H.Y. Benedict Fellowship from Alpha Chi, will pursue biblical languages at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Titus Bartos received a full fellowship to do graduate work in music at Middle Tennessee State University. Others will enter law schools, medical schools, seminaries and graduate programs across the country
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., gave the commencement address. Mohler encouraged the graduates to fulfill Jesus’ command to his disciples to do the work of the Father while they still can.
“Most supremely, the purpose for which we were created is to display the glory of God,” Mohler said. “The greatest privilege of a human life, one made in the image of God, is to know the Creator -- and not only to know about him in an abstract sense, but to know him personally through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mohler told graduates they can display that glory of God by telling and defending the truth, sharing the gospel, engaging the culture, changing the world, loving the church and showing the glory of God in their own lives.
“The time is short and growing shorter,” Mohler said. “Our lives are brief and but a vapor. The Lord Jesus Christ said that we must do the works of him who sent us and who sent him while it is day. Night is coming when no man can work.”
Prior to his address, Mohler was inducted as a fellow for Union’s Carl F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership.