CU graduation

A record number of students gather for Saturday’s graduates-only commencement at Cumberland University.

Cumberland University hosted its 178th commencement Saturday, celebrating the largest graduating class in school history in a graduate-only ceremony.

The 2019-20 academic year began with the school’s largest total enrollment and concluded with a commencement honoring 615 graduates, the largest number in the university’s 178 year history.

Only graduates were allowed to attend the ceremony, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and were seated 6 feet apart on the Memorial Hall lawn. Family members, friends, classmates, faculty and staff were able to cheer graduates on from home via a video livestream.

“This year has been challenging for many, especially the class of 2020,” said University President Paul Stumb. “Although this was not the commencement ceremony that we hoped to give our graduates, it does not take away from the tremendous accomplishment of earning a college degree. I am extremely proud to welcome all 615 graduates to the Cumberland alumni family.”

The processional included Cumberland Professor of Education Charles Collier as the macebearer, followed by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs C. William McKee opening the 178th commencement assembly. The invocation was led by Mt. Juliet Chief of Police James Hambrick and Lain Tomlinson and Lauren Gregory sang the “Star Spangled Banner” accompanied by James Jordan.

Stumb welcomed the graduates and congratulated them on their hard work and dedication that led to their success. Cumberland Board of Trust Chairman W.P. Bone III; Faculty Senate President and Assistant Professor of Art Peg Fredi and Student Government President Kayla Sanders all spoke words of congratulations and encouragement to the graduates.

After the conferral of degrees, those in attendance sang the Cumberland University alma mater. The benediction came from University Chaplain Mike Ripski and concluded the ceremony.

For more information on Cumberland’s 2020 Commencement Ceremony, visit

Submitted to the Democrat

Submitted to the Democrat

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