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Nearly 900 will graduate during MTSU's 99th summer commencement on Aug. 14, officials report

Deborah Belcher, M.F.A., will serve as the summer 2010 commencement speaker at MTSU on Aug. 14.
Deborah Belcher, M.F.A., will serve as the summer 2010 commencement speaker at MTSU on Aug. 14.
Courtesy of MTSU

A projected 892 degree candidates will graduate during the 99th annual summer commencement ceremony, MTSU officials recently announced.

The single-ceremony graduation will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, in Murphy Center on the campus of MTSU, with Deborah Belcher, professor for the Department of Human Sciences, delivering the commencement address.

Some 657 of this summer’s degree candidates will be undergraduates, said Ann S. Reaves, assistant director for graduation, Records Office, with 235 students slated to graduate from the College of Graduate Studies. This total includes 213 master's degrees, 17 education specialist degrees and five Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

A member of MTSU’s faculty since 1991, Belcher teaches in the university’s interior design program and is the 2010-11 interim chairwoman for MTSU’s human sciences department, as well as serving as the 2009-10 president of the MTSU Faculty Senate.

A registered interior designer in the State of Tennessee, Belcher, prior to joining MTSU, taught in the environmental design program at Syracuse University. She is also a design consultant who specializes in the re-use of existing structures, day-care facility design, elderly care facility design and health-care facility design.

Belcher earned her Associate of Science degree from Young Harris College and a Bachelor of Science degree in history, with an emphasis in historic preservation, from MTSU. She received a Master of Fine Arts in interior design at the University of Georgia at Athens and has completed additional post-graduate coursework in higher education.

A native of Murfreesboro, Belcher holds professional membership in the Interior Design Educators Council and is member of both the American Society of Interior Designers and the Institute of Classical Architecture. Additionally, she received the ASID 1995 Education Award from the Tennessee Chapter and a Tennessee Chapter Presidential Citation in 2003, 2008 and 2009. Earlier this year, she received a national IDEC Service Award and served as the 2008-2010 IDEC South Region’s chairwoman, among other honors.

Regarding this summer’s commencement, Dr. Brad Bartel, university provost, said he wanted to remind all degree candidates of the importance of appropriate dress, decorum and respect for the commencement ceremony.

“Commencement is an important and memorable day in the lives of many people,” Bartel said. “Everyone in attendance has a personal responsibility to ensure the atmosphere is dignified, and this includes not exiting before the ceremony has concluded or blowing air horns, both of which are inappropriate for a formal event such as this.”

Additionally, Bartel noted that the graduation committee also emphasized that students who participate in commencement will be required to stay for the entire ceremony. The ceremony should last about two hours. If candidates are planning celebration activities, please be aware of this commitment, he said.

At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 14, Murphy Center doors will open for the commencement ceremony. Candidates are expected to be in their assigned areas, dressed in their caps and gowns, no later than 9 a.m. Officials report that students who are not in their assigned gym at the proper times will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony. Because commencement rehearsals are no longer conducted, timely attendance is mandatory for students to receive important instructions.

Graduation information—including how to access the graduation ceremony via streaming video the day of commencement, maps and driving directions to Murphy Center, cap-and-gown information and how to order a DVD of the summer ceremony— is available online by accessing www.mtsunews.com and clicking on the “Graduation Information” link at the top, center of the Web page.

For more information about receiving a degree in absentia, please visit the Records Office website at www.mtsu.edu/~records/ grad.htm. Any additional questions about graduation may be directed to the Records Office at 615-898-2600.

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