News & Events

85 Graduate at December Commencement

Graduation 20141212 0077The purpose of life is found in serving God and others, according to Terry Bellamy, keynote speaker for the Mars Hill University graduation ceremonies, held December 12 at Moore Auditorium.

"Your purpose, and I’ll add your passion, can’t stop here at Mars Hill," she said. "Quite the contrary! Your purpose and passion must be evident in everything that you do, everyday."

Bellamy, executive director of The Arc of Buncombe County and former mayor of the city of Asheville, drew from the New Testament story of Paul's sermon at Mars' Hill (Acts 17) to encourage the graduates to live a life of service.

Bellamy also encouraged students to find sources of inspiration and to connect with people who bring out the best in them.

"You can call them friends, mentors, life coaches, counselors or covenant partners. Whatever you choose to call them or regardless of who they are, they need to be able to assist you in developing a greater you," she said.

Success will require an openness to learning which continues throughout life, Bellamy said. That could mean seeking additional education, or it could simply mean a commitment to excellence in one’s field.

“Whatever the situation may be, remain teachable and open to learning,” she said.
Mars Hill University conferred bachelor’s degrees on 85 August and December graduates on Friday.

Graduation 20141212 0107The most popular majors among the graduates were business (business administration and business management) and education (elementary, integrated, and middle grades). The third most popular was Mars Hill's newest major, criminal justice.

Student speakers were Kelly McKenna Rachel Bryant, a psychology major from Belmont, NC; and Martha Rhodarmer, an elementary education major from Candler, NC, in the Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) program at Mars Hill. The invocation was given by Derek Davis Gibson, a religion major from Soldota, AL.

Special music for the graduation was provided by Heather Nicole Bronson, a musical theatre major from Forest Oaks, NC.

Bellamy holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master's degree in public affairs from Western Carolina University. She is currently working on a doctorate in educational leadership at Western Carolina University.

Prior to assuming the position of executive director of the Arc of Buncombe County, Bellamy was a two-term mayor of the City of Asheville. When she was first elected Mayor in November 2005, she was the youngest mayor in North Carolina, the youngest mayor ever elected in Asheville, and the first African-American to serve as mayor of Asheville.

August and December graduates, listed alphabetically by hometown, are:

Derek Davis Gibson, Soldota AL
Zachary Michael Ruston, Buena Park CA
Justin Bruce Gaylard, Cantonment FL
Joshua Mychael Keith Young, Jacksonville FL
Paul J. Melville, Palm Bay FL
Robert Maitland Jones, Tallahassee FL
Donald Neal Dwyer, Lawrenceville GA
Sammy Siasia, Marietta GA
Brittney Leigh Swann, Waldorf MD
Jon-Erik Avery, Clarkston MI
Khailey Lynn Walsh, Clarkston MI
Toni Cole, Grand Rapids MI
Colton Drew Stewart, Andrews NC
Rudy J. Cabral, Arden NC
Amber Nicole Cheyney, Asheville NC
Adam Scott Dunn, Asheville NC
Colleen Kerwin Frederick, Asheville NC
Raymond Edward Jester, Asheville NC
Terrance Braisford McKnight, Asheville NC
Nicholas Eugene Allison, Asheville NC
Marquita Marie Moore, Asheville NC
Corey Addison Roberts, Asheville NC
Kimberly Michelle West, Asheville NC
Tina Stewart Jones, Barnardsville NC
Kelly McKenna Rachel Bryant, Belmont NC
Antonia Gerald Koone, Brevard NC
Carla Danielle Keener, Burnsville NC
Sasha Michelle Zebrowski, Burnsville NC
Derwin Columbus Barnett, II, Burnsville NC
Martha Rhodarmer, Candler NC
Allison Clarissa Carson, Charlotte NC
Katina Michelle Smith, Cherokee NC
Matthew Leigh Bresson-Whitt, Durham NC
Brannon Yates McDowell, Ellenboro NC
Major Valquan Duckett, Flat Rock NC
Heather Nicole Bronson, Forest Oaks NC
Sumner Brichelle Rhodes, Gastonia NC
Kevis Jontae Parker, Gastonia NC
Brooke Elizabeth Johnson, Germanton NC
William R. White, Goldsboro NC
Kiel Emilio Bollero, Grandy NC
Haley Melissa Peterson, Hampstead NC
Kelly Leigh Fiveash, Hendersonville NC
Roxanne Elizabeth Paris, Hendersonville NC
Russell Burgin Robinson, Hendersonville NC
Olivia Mae McHone, Hendersonville NC
Jennifer E. Nordine, Hendersonville NC
Michelle Rene Wisda, Hendersonville NC
Nathaniel John Diehl, Hudson NC
Mattie Evan Cross, Huntersville NC
Brittany Anne Gibson, Laurinburg NC
Sherri Yvonne Christopher, Leicester NC
Howard Heath Silver, Leicester NC
Lauren Ashley Sparks, Leicester NC
Nathan W. Marsh, Marion NC
Marla Lynn Reese, Mars Hill NC
Marcus Mendonca Meskil, Marshall NC
Tennille Dawn Fender, Marshall NC
Jacqueline Suzanne Combs, Mills River NC
Allison Renee Pipes, Moravian Falls NC
Katelyn M. Oxford, Morganton NC
Tonisha Lavonne Chislom, Newton NC
Ashley Nikole Lowery, Rutherford NC
Alex L. Brandt, Sanford NC
Leanne Paige Rector, Sparta NC
Timothy Adam Barnett, Spruce Pine NC
Shelby Lauren Waldroup, Spruce Pine NC
Emily Marie Peek, Swannanoa NC
Jacob D. Yant, Waynesville NC
Heather Renee Ingle, Weaverville NC
Brianne Elizabeth Nelson, Weaverville NC
Clarissa Leigh Roberts, Weaverville NC
Zachary Thomas Burnett, Weaverville NC
Constance Elizabeth Cuthrell, Winston Salem NC
Courtney Lynn Kiser, Yadkinville NC
Kelsey Charlotte Falcone, Howell NJ
Benjamin S. Abbott, Bend OR
Kevin Joseph Kolipinski, Allentown PA
Seth Michael Greene, Fort Mill SC
Miranda Dawn Stephens, Lake Wylie SC
Demarcus Antonio Thompson, Lancaster SC
Ondrew Spencer Adams, Rock Hill SC
Meghan Leigh Thomas, Marion VA
Lauren Frances Saller, Mechanicsville VA
Michael William Keith, Somerset West, South Africa