Thursday, December 20, 2018

[247] Dec. 15 fall commencement ceremonies bring 1,700-plus new MTSU grads hard-earned degrees

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. More than 1,700MTSU students are preparing to put their hard-earned degrees to use after the university’s fall 2018 commencementceremonies, set this Saturday, Dec. 15, in Hale Arena inside Murphy Center. 

The morning ceremony, which will begin at 9 a.m.Dec. 15, will feature a special commencement address from Wanda Lyle, managing director of UBS AG and general manager of the UBS Business Solutions Center in Nashville, for graduates in the College ofGraduate Studies, College ofBasic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business and the College of Education.

MTSU alumna and WSMV-Channel 4 news anchor and journalist Holly Thompson will speak at the afternoon ceremony, set for 1:30 p.m.for graduates in theCollege of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College ofLiberal Arts, College ofMedia and Entertainmentand the University College.

The afternoon ceremony time is a change from past years, intended to give participants a few extra post-graduation moments to celebrate their accomplishments with loved ones.

Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend the Dec. 15 ceremonies in person can watch live online at university will provide closed-captioning services for the live video stream as well as American Sign Language interpretation at each ceremony.

Live coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts. Each ceremony lasts a little over two hours.

The university Registrar’s Office reports that 1,731 students are preparing to graduatefrom MTSU this fall, including 1,471 undergraduates and 260 graduate students. The latter number includes 240 master’s candidates, one education-specialist degree recipient and 11 doctoral candidates.

Two graduate students and 19 undergraduates also will receive certificates for their advanced study.

An official program listing all the fall 2018 graduates is available at

MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. A campus map with parking details is available at,and a seating chart of Murphy Center, including access for guests who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues, is available at

Morning speaker Lyle, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi, joined UBS in 2010 as the head of employee compliance for the Americas, later assuming responsibility for global employee compliance and ultimately assuming leadership of the firm's Nashville operations in 2014. Lyle began her career at Merrill Lynch, where she spent 29 years in a range of positions in the Wealth Management Americas division.

An active leader in Nashville’s business and service community who focuses on supporting public education and the city's economic competitiveness, Lyle is chair of both the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the Greater Nashville YWCA and a member of multiple organizations, including the Tennessee Business Leaders Council, the Mayor's Music City Music Council, Tennessee Women's Forum, Downtown Nashville Rotary and the 2017–18 Leadership Nashville class, where she also serves as program co-chair for the 2018–19 class.

Her professional laurels include recognition in Nashville Business Journal's Power 100 for 2017 and 2018 as well as the publication's list of Power Leaders in Finance in 2018. She also was part of the Nashville Post's annual "In Charge — Banking and Finance" 2016-18 lists of industry leaders.

Afternoon speaker Thompson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from MTSU and “Distinction of University Honors,” also served as a student ambassador during her college years. She received the university’s Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2000.

She joined WSMV in 1997 and is a nine-time Emmy and multiple Associated Press award-winning journalist, serving as co-anchor for the station’s “News4 Today” morning show and host of “News4 at Noon.” Thompson’s Emmy-winning coverage includes her work on “Operation Tennessee Waltz,” a 2005 joint federal-state bribery investigation of Tennessee public officials; the May 2010 “thousand-year flood,” which killed 26 across three states and left nearly 11,000 properties damaged in Nashville alone; the 2012 gas explosion at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center; the second-largest tornado outbreak in Tennessee history, when 24 confirmed twisters blew across the state in January 2013; and widespread flash flooding across the Midstate in April 2013.

Thompson, who has attended the Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University, also is a motivational speaker, serves as spokesperson for the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition and works with Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee.

University officials are urging commencement guests to arrive early to ease traffic congestion around Murphy Center and help ensure comfortable seating for everyone inside Hale Arena. Motorists also should avoid Middle Tennessee Boulevard because of ongoing construction and use the East Main, Rutherford Boulevard and Greenland Drive campus entrances instead.

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

The university will be closed for winter break Dec. 24-Jan. 1, and offices will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 2. MTSU’s spring 2019 semester classes will begin Monday, Jan. 14.

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