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Milligan to hold two spring commencement ceremonies

Gary RichardsonMILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (April 29, 2013) — Milligan College will hold two commencement ceremonies this spring to accommodate a significant growth in the size of the graduating class. The first will be Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. for students in Milligan’s graduate and professional studies programs. The second will be Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m. for students graduating from traditional undergraduate programs.

The college will award a total of 219 degrees at the ceremonies, which will be held in Milligan’s Mary B. Martin Auditorium of Seeger Memorial Chapel. The ceremonies will be similar in order and content, with storyteller Gary Richardson, the co-creator of popular musicals such as “The Rock & The Rabbi,” as the keynote speaker.

This is the second spring that Milligan has scheduled two ceremonies so that the college can accommodate the large crowds expected. Milligan will award 46 degrees at the May 10 ceremony and 173 degrees at the May 11 ceremony. On May 11, overflow seating will be available in Milligan’s Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts. Both ceremonies will be broadcast live at www.livestream.com/milligancollege.

“Commencement is a special time for our graduates and their families, and we did not want to prevent any guests from sharing this moment with us,” said Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer. “Last spring, we discussed many options to accommodate the large class, and this spring the graduating class is even larger. Once again, two services was the best choice and will allow the graduates to experience the culmination of their Milligan experience in Seeger Chapel, where generations of Milligan graduates have received their diplomas.”

The May graduates include 38 bachelor of arts (B.A.), 99 bachelor of science (B.S.), 52 bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.), 18 master of business administration (M.B.A.), 11 master of education (M.Ed.), and one master of science in occupational therapy (MSOT).

During commencement, Milligan also will present Dr. Richard Lura, professor of chemistry, with its highest honor, the Fide et Amore citation, in recognition of his loving and faithful service to the college.

In addition, the ceremonies will include a commencement address by Richardson, a 1978 Milligan alumnus who has enjoyed a successful career in education, broadcasting, ministry and theater.

Richardson’s passion for theater and music developed while he was a student at Milligan. An English major and speech/drama minor, he traveled for three summers with Milligan’s camp team, God’s Hands. He performed in the college’s Madrigals Dinners and co-created the premier a cappella ensemble, Heritage. He wrote, produced and directed three all-campus variety shows and produced the comedy “Harvey” and the musical “Camelot.”

After he graduated from Milligan, Richardson began a career in education, working as a teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport and then as assistant director of adult education with the Kingsport City Schools. He also worked in Milligan’s Admissions office.

His broadcasting and ministry careers span from Tennessee to Florida, including a stint as program director with WCSK 90.3FM, an educational station for Kingsport City Schools. Later, he was an on-air host with the Worship TV Network in Clearwater, Fla. He served in ministry as the program director at First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport and as associate minister at Harborside Christian Church in Safety Harbor, Fla.

In recent years, Richardson’s work has focused on the stage. He is co-creator and storyteller of several popular musicals including “The Rock & The Rabbi,” “The Witnesses,” “DAVID” and “The Child.” These musicals, which creatively and passionately depict stories from the Bible, have been enjoyed by audiences throughout the country—from New York City’s Lambs Theatre to Milligan’s own McGlothlin-Street Theatre in the Gregory Center.

Richardson’s newest musical, titled “The Blind Man’s Tale,” is currently in development and is set to premiere later this year. It recounts the story of the blind beggar healed by Jesus in John 9.

A complete schedule of graduation activities is available online at www.milligan.edu/commencement or by calling 423.461.8681.


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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