Wednesday, January 07, 2015

[237] MTSU alumni McFarland, Strickland to address grads at Dec. 13 commencement ceremonies

MURFREESBORO — A special pair of MTSU alumni will be on hand Saturday, Dec. 13, to celebrate with an estimated 1,799 students receiving their degrees in two fall 2014 commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center.

Shane McFarland, the new mayor of Murfreesboro, is the guest speaker for the university’s 9 a.m. commencement ceremony Dec. 13.

Ken Strickland, NBC News vice president and Washington, D.C., bureau chief, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Students from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Education will receive their degrees in the morning ceremony. That afternoon, students in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and the University College will receive their degrees.

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 via streaming video on Dec. 13.

The live commencement coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts; visit for a link to the video feed and more details.

MTSU’s Registrar’s Office reported this week that 1,512 of the 1,799 students set to graduate Dec. 13 are undergraduates and 287 are graduate students, including 270 master’s candidates, five education-specialist degree recipients and 12 doctoral candidates. Another 13 students are set to receive undergraduate certificates, and two more will receive graduate certificates.

McFarland, who has served on the Murfreesboro City Council since 2006 and was elected mayor in mid-2014, earned his Bachelor of Arts in accounting from MTSU in 1997. He also served the university as 1995-96 student body president and is a member of the Blue Raider Athletic Association.

McFarland owns Shane McFarland Construction, a custom residential and commercial construction firm, and is a member of the Master Custom Builder Council of Tennessee. He also has served on many city boards and commissions, including the Murfreesboro Planning Commission and the Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission, and is a past chairman of the Rutherford County Crime Stoppers and a founding member of the Murfreesboro Half Marathon.

Strickland earned his Bachelor of Science in mass communication from MTSU in 1989. Before joining NBC News, he worked for WKRN-TV in Nashville, WVTM-TV in Birmingham and CNN in Atlanta.

Strickland joined NBC in April 1995 as an associate producer for "Dateline NBC." Quickly rising through the ranks, he was named White House producer in June 1997, then U.S. Senate producer and later deputy Washington bureau chief, managing the day-to-day operation of the bureau and overseeing all aspects of NBC News' coverage. Strickland became vice president and Washington bureau chief in 2012 and currently oversees all bureau management, editorial affairs and administration and works closely with NBC executives.

According to the MTSU Graduation Committee, all graduating students are required to stay for their entire commencement ceremony. Each ceremony may last up to three hours.

Graduation information — including links to maps and driving directions to Murphy Center, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at

You also can view a PDF of the complete 36-page Dec. 13 commencement program at

No comments: