A trio of leaders will help 2,538 new MTSU graduates reach their educational goals in three spring 2017 commencement ceremonies set Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6.

MTSU psychology professor and Career Achievement Award winner Michael Hein, former state commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd and Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney are the guest speakers for this spring’s commencement ceremonies inside the university’s Murphy Center.

Hein, who also serves as director of MTSU’s Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness, will address the university’s separate ceremony for students earning their doctorate, master’s and education specialist degrees. The College of Graduate Studies event is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 5.

Boyd, a Knoxville, Tennessee, businessman and higher education advocate, is the guest speaker for the university’s 9 a.m. undergraduate commencement ceremony May 6.

Looney, a Brentwood, Tennessee, resident and the 2016 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year, will speak at the 2 p.m. May 6 undergraduate ceremony.

Students from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Media and Entertainment will receive their degrees in the May 6 morning ceremony.

Students in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, and the University College will receive their degrees in the May 6 afternoon event.

MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend in person can watch each ceremony live online May 5 and 6 via streaming video.

The live commencement coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts; visit http://ow.ly/rwxOz for details about the video feed.

Guests attending each ceremony should arrive early to ease traffic congestion around Murphy Center and help ensure comfortable seating for everyone inside Hale Arena. Motorists should avoid Middle Tennessee Boulevard because of ongoing construction; route suggestions are available at http://www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

MTSU’s Registrar’s Office reported this week that 2,170 of the 2,538 students set to receive their degrees May 6 are undergraduates, while 368 students will be presented with graduate degrees May 5, including 328 master’s candidates, 12 education-specialist degree recipients and 28 doctoral candidates. Five graduate students also will receive graduate certificates, and one undergraduate degree will be awarded posthumously.

An official program, listing all the graduates, is now available at http://ow.ly/dfWk30bgTyW.

Graduate ceremony speaker Hein, a psychology department faculty member since 1990, came to MTSU to improve the master’s program in industrial/organizational psychology and has raised it to a model national curriculum with a focus on strong recruitment, a cohort class structure and improving student internships. He also developed one of the few stand-alone undergraduate industrial/organizational psychology majors in the country.

In addition to his university and community service, Hein also works as a consultant for industries on job preparation, employee training and leadership development. He received the MTSU Foundation’s 2016 Career Achievement Award, considered the pinnacle of recognition for the university’s finest professors, last August.

Undergraduate morning speaker Boyd is the founder and executive chairman of Radio Systems Corp., the company known for the Invisible Fence, PetSafe and SportDOG brand pet containment products.

He joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration in 2013 as a special adviser to the governor for higher education, helping create the state’s Drive to 55 initiative, the Tennessee Promise and Reconnect programs and other plans to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. He then served as state economic development commissioner from 2015 until he returned to private life this January.

Undergrad afternoon speaker Looney has been a public educator since 1994, serving as a classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal. He was appointed to lead Williamson County schools in 2009 after serving as superintendent of the Butler County School District and as assistant superintendent for the Montgomery Public Schools, both in Alabama.

He also served as a corporate finance manager before entering the education field and is a military veteran and retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

MTSU’s Graduation Committee noted that all graduating students must stay for their entire commencement ceremony. Each ceremony may last up to two hours.

Graduation information — including links to maps and driving directions to MTSU, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at http://www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.


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