Wednesday, May 17, 2017

[455] MTSU graduate students urged to ‘leave your piece of the world better’ in 1st of 3 ceremonies

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s 372 newest graduate degree recipients joyfully celebrated their years of educational accomplishment Friday, May 5, with some heartfelt advice from a longtime psychology professor.

Michael Hein, who developed MTSU’s nationally recognized graduate program in industrial/organizational psychology and directs the university’s Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness, recalled his military basic training, when he was told to “police your area. Leave it better than you found it.”

“I’m not going to ask you to go out and change the world,” he told the new graduates. “I’m just going to ask you to leave your piece of the world better than you found it, every day, every week, every month.

“If we all do that, that’s going to have a huge impact.”

The university’s College of Graduate Studies presented 332 master’s degrees, 12 education-specialist degrees and 28 doctoral degrees in an afternoon ceremony marked by joyful shouts that rang through Hale Arena in Murphy Center. MTSU will award 2,171 undergraduate degrees Saturday, May 6, in two more commencement ceremonies.

New grad Jeannie Stubblefield received her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2011, then used research in drug discovery for what she called “some of the worst neglected tropical diseases” to earn her doctorate in biosciences Friday. Her success included co-authoring papers and two patents through the Tennessee Center for Environmental Research.

“I feel very blessed to have been a part of the MTSU community through all this,” said Stubblefield, who’s received a prestigious fellowship with the University of Washington in Seattle and will move there in July. “MTSU was a great stepping stone. “I would not have achieved this opportunity without their help. It’s the end of one chapter and the start of a new career.”

Echoing Stubblefield’s experience, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee encouraged the new graduates to “bask in the glory that surrounds this day” but reminded them that it’s also a starting point for their next adventures.

“You may feel that this long journey is over,” McPhee said. “We feel that it is just a comma, not a period, in your story. It is just the beginning of even greater things to come.”

Former state commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd is the guest speaker for the university’s 9 a.m. undergraduate commencement ceremony May 6. Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney 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 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

An official program, listing all the graduates, is now available at

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

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