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185 achieve degree goal at Milligan College

By MADISON MATHEWS
Johnson City Press

MILLIGAN COLLEGE — For Nicki Wilmer, graduating a year early from Milligan College was a bittersweet ending to her undergraduate career.

“It’s kind of surreal. I don’t really feel like I should be graduating right now,” Wilmer said. “(It’s) a little bit nerveracking because I have to grow up and be an adult and be responsible now.”

Wilmer, a psychology major, came to Milligan in 2006 with 15 advanced placement credits from high school. In addition to those credits, Wilmer also took some summer classes.

She is now going into Milligan’s occupational therapy graduate program. Although, she will still be around Milligan to some extent, Wilmer said she was sad to leave her undergraduate life so soon.

Wilmer was just one of the 185 students who graduated on Saturday. One hundred and fifty-five graduates received their bachelor’s degree, while 30 received their master’s from the college. Majors for each graduate ranged from Bible to public leadership and service.

“It’s been four and a half years since I actually got to sit in my recliner without freaking out about a Spanish test or some kind of paper to write, so I’m pretty excited,” said Kevin Rice, a Bible major with an emphasis on children’s ministry.

Both Wilmer and Rice said that the relationships they formed with various members of Milligan’s faculty meant a lot to them during their time at the college.

“I remember coming in thinking everybody pretty much believed the same,” Rice said, about his early preconceptions as he first entered Milligan’s student body.

Rice said during his years at Milligan, he learned to accept people who are different.

“It’s OK to disagree and still love people,” Rice said.

He said he’s going to continue carrying this attitude through the rest of his life as he prepares to enter the ministry somewhere in the area. Rice also said he’s thinking of enrolling into a seminary like Emmanuel, which is located directly across from Milligan’s campus.

Out of all of the undergraduates, 37 percent graduated with honors.

During the ceremony, Linda Doan, professor of human performance and exercise science, was awarded the “Fide Et Amore” for her work during her tenure at Milligan.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and University Association. He has spent more than 20 years working in higher education.

Presnell’s message to the class of 2009 explored what community is and what community means to both the pursuit of knowledge and the application of knowledge.

“The knowledge you’ve acquired is not to remain dormant. What you’ve done today is not the end journey,” Presnell said.

Before the class walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, Presnell reminded them that community is around us all.

“We know Christ more when we understand our frailty in light of others’ strengths.”

Johnson City Press Article

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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