MURFREESBORO – Balloons dropped, thousands cheered, and a record new crop of graduates celebrated a milestone in their lives as Middle Tennessee State University awarded its 100,000th undergraduate degree during its centennial commencement ceremonies Saturday.
“This has been a remarkable year on our campus,” MTSU president Sidney A. McPhee said, citing a year of once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, events, special guests and accomplishments for the Murphy Center crowd and those watching worldwide via streaming Internet feed.
“For more than a century, MTSU has taken very seriously its responsibility to provide a high-quality, accessible education for the people of Tennessee and the region. While the university’s growth has been exponential over the last two decades, we have never wavered from our commitment to the individual success of our students and to academic quality.”
The university awarded a record 2,535 degrees from its eight colleges to students in two ceremonies yesterday, including its first two doctorates in math and science education. The 100,000th undergraduate degree was conferred during the morning event.
With yesterday’s centennial commencement ceremonies, MTSU has graduated more than 110,000 students since its inception in 1911, awarding its first doctoral degrees in 1972.
“No single thing in your life will change your life more than what you are about to do today,” Dr. Mark A. Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and guest speaker for the morning commencement ceremony, told the degree recipients.
“You’re going to make $1 million. That’s the difference in earnings between a college degree and a high school diploma. You’re going to live longer. You’re going to get married and stay married. You’re going to become leaders in your community, someone people will look up to and respect.”