Carson-Newman moving spring graduation to Gatlinburg Convention Center


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Carson-Newman University is moving its spring commencement ceremonies to the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Dr. Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board, will address students during the 10 a.m. undergraduate ceremony and the 4 p.m. graduate ceremony on May 7.

“As always, our commencement ceremonies first and foremost celebrate our graduates’ triumph in obtaining this milestone in their academic careers,” University Provost Jeremy J. Buckner said. “It is with additional joy that our celebration takes place in Gatlinburg, which has such strong ties to our great University’s Appalachian heritage.”

Carson-Newman has put into place several requirements for the event to meet COVID-19 guidelines, including requiring face coverings, temperature checks upon entry and social distancing. Graduates will receive a limited number of tickets for guests to ensure social distancing between family groups.

Those unable to attend will be able to view the ceremony on the University’s livestream at:

“It is important for us at Carson-Newman to celebrate as a community in person for this Spring Commencement ceremony,” Buckner said. “Our students and faculty made significant adaptation this year in our approach to education.

“Likewise, around campus, on the field and in the residence halls, staff found creative ways to engage in sporting, social and residence life activities safely. Sharing life together in community and in real presence with each other is critical and foundational to our liberal arts-based education and cannot be undervalued.”

Chitwood was elected president of the IMB, a missionary society of the Southern Baptist Convention, in November 2018. He previously had served as executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 2011.

A native of Jellico, Chitwood is a graduate of Cumberland College and earned the Master of Divinity and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

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