News & Events

MHU Graduates 78 at Winter Commencement 2015

Mhu Grad Mike Kelly
Keynote speaker Mike Kelly (left) stands on stage with Dr. John Wells, executive vice president and Dr. Dan Lunsford, president

Youtube Play Watch a recording of the commencement ceremony.

By any measure, T. Michael Kelly (MHU '82), vice president of learning and development for the Credit and Customer Services Department of Macy's Inc., has experienced tremendous success in his career.

But as the keynote speaker for the Mars Hill University winter graduation ceremonies Friday evening, Kelly urged graduates to seek an authentic success in life which is defined holistically.

"Life can be summed up by loving and serving God, and loving and serving people," he said.

Kelly encouraged the graduates to measure true success by one's personal values and mission, and to then set goals based on that definition. Even more importantly, true success must include balance and it must include service to others, he said.

"Ask yourself the questions: What is success for me? Who are you impacting in a significant way? What kind of legacy are you leaving?" he said. "Be sure to focus on the roots, not the fruit. The roots are universal principles and competencies that you build into your life."

According to Kelly, his experiences as a Mars Hill student were important in helping him form an authentic definition of success.

"I developed a foundation that continues to pay dividends in my life today. I was prepared academically and socially, and I realized that regardless of color, background or statue in life, we all matter and are God’s children. We’re all on a journey and each one of us has a purpose and something to offer the world," he said.

Mhu Grad Anna Dillon Outstanding Elem Ed
Anna Dillon receives a medal as outstanding graduate in elementary education.

Mars Hill University conferred bachelor’s degrees on 78 August and December graduates on Friday in Moore Auditorium. The top four majors among the graduates, in order, were physical education, business administration, business management, and biology.

Student speakers at the ceremony were Tricia Michelle Ellis, an apparel and interior merchandising major from Emerywood, NC; and Talina Hooper Royer, an integrated education major from Clyde, NC, in the Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) program at Mars Hill.

Four students performed the percussion piece, "Rite of Passage." They were: Anthony Christian Sabatino, Mars Hill, NC; Laura Elizabeth Maynard, Hendersonville, NC; Luke Alexander Rathbone, Swannanoa, NC; and Spencer Lamare Taunton, Mill Spring, NC.

Mike Kelly graduated from Mars Hill University in 1982 with a degree in business administration. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University, where he was recognized as Outstanding Graduate Student. In addition to his role with Macy’s, Mike Kelly owns and operates a private coaching and investment firm, Right Path Enterprises, LLC.

Mike and his wife, Dr. Melinda Kelly, are residents of Mason, OH. Kelly serves on the MHU Board of Trustees and as a member of the Campaign Steering Committee for the university. He was also recognized as one of Mars Hill’s 2014 Alumni of the Year.

Mars Hill University's August and December graduates are listed below, alphabetically by hometown:

Keri Ruth Oxendine, Carol Stream IL
Aimee Schaaf Williams, Arden NC
Savannah Brooke Hayes, Asheboro NC
Angela Bailey Brock, Asheville NC
Shannon Gail Hance, Asheville NC
Jennifer Marie Perry, Asheville NC
Stacy Lightfoot Metcalf, Asheville NC
Victoria Styles Crawley, Asheville NC
Trey Kristian Clark, Asheville NC
Shaikel D'Vontaye Quantrelle Davis, Asheville NC
Samantha Audrey Godwin, Asheville NC
Michael Alexander Melrose, Barnardsville NC
Derwin Columbus Barnett II, Burnsville NC
Ryan Ray, Burnsville NC
Kirstie Jo-Ellen Pressley, Candler NC
Jennifer Leslie Hoyle, Candler NC
Aide Karina Padilla, Candler NC
Jill Marie Hallmark, Candler NC
Justina Laura Rieger, Candler NC
Patrick Wayne Smith, Candler NC
Caleb Andrew Harbin, Canton NC
Rachel A. Blong, Charlotte NC
Hunter Scott Ellison, Charlotte NC
Aaron David Hogner, Cherokee NC
Talina Hooper Royer, Clyde NC
Timothy Edward Garrison, Conover NC
Kristy Nicole Hayes, Elk Park NC
Yvette Mimy Brearley, Fairview NC
Carrie Elizabeth Ivey-Craig, Fletcher NC
Dustin Zachary Foster, Hamptonville NC
Matthew James Frye, Harmony NC
Paige Jordan Stack, Hendersonville NC
Monica Diane Watts, Hendersonville NC
Anna Elizabeth Dillon, Hendersonville NC
Tricia M. Ellis, High Point NC
Elizabeth Patrick, Kannapolis NC
Jared Jay Parthe, Kernersville NC
Emily Grace Fore, Lenoir NC
Robert Lee Walters III, Lumber Bridge NC
Stacy Leigh Yarbrough, Marion NC
Cory Allen Lee Whitt, Mars Hill NC
Anthony Christian Sabatino, Mars Hill NC
Stephanie Michelle Lane, Mars Hill NC
Kaitlynne Marie Storey, Mars Hill NC
Joyce Kay Cody, Marshall NC
Farrington Neill Morris, Mc Adenville NC
Taylor William Enloe Frizzell, Mills River NC
Thomas Albert Mason III, Morehead City NC
Benjamin Claiborne Bunch, Murfreesboro NC
Chelsea West, Newton NC
Samantha McLaughlin McIntosh, Old Fort NC
Mercedes Renee Rich, Pink Hill NC
Shane Alan Biddix, Spruce Pine NC
Stephen Jackson Bomar, Spruce Pine NC
Michael Lee Cash, Taylorsville NC
Hunter Allen Townsend, Taylorsville NC
Leanna Rogers Moody, Waynesville NC
Joshua Richard Messer, Waynesville NC
Kimberly Maria Bingham, West Jefferson NC
Hollie Elizabeth Reid, Woodfin NC
BreAnna J. Bass-Vazquez, New York NY
Saxon Steven Weil, Williamsville NY
Franklin Joshua Riffe, Galloway OH
Matthew Thomas Layman, Bluffton SC
Dillon Douglas Whitaker, Campobello SC
Johnny Ray Maxey, Jr., Columbia SC
Tre'von Gregory Gee, Darlington SC
Zachary David Lappin, Easley SC
Darius Vidal Cunningham, Greenwood SC
Christopher Jared Herring, Greenwood SC
Jerome Alexander Maybank, Jr., Pawleys Island SC
Michael Chase Ashley, Simpsonville SC
Isaiah Michael Young, Sumter SC
Robert Jason Dickert, Travelers Rest SC
Desmond Patrick Spikes, Ware Shoals SC
Anthony Kent Malcom, New Westminster, BC, Canada
Ryan Stewart Sage, Kelowna, BC, Canada
Pedro Henrique de Melo Cos Chaves, Sao Jose dos Campos Brazil