News & Events

Spring 2016 Commencement

Meacham Keynote Speaker Mhu GraduationDr. Kathy Meacham, a professor known for breaking into song during class, did it again during her commencement speech on Saturday morning, sharing an old Appalachian spiritual with members of the graduating class of 2016.

"Bright morning stars are rising; bright morning stars are rising; bright morning stars are rising," she sang. "Day is breaking in your soul."

Meacham, who is retiring after 25 years as a professor in the religion and philosophy department at Mars Hill University, assured the graduates that day was indeed breaking on the rest of their lives. From an "old Appalachian spiritual," Meacham then pivoted to modernity, providing the "Twitter-feed version" of a successful life for the graduates.

"Examine your lives. Be compassionate, engaged citizens who work for justice. Listen to, read about, and imagine other people's stories," she said.

Meacham, a philosophy professor, quoted Socrates, Cicero, retired MHU religion professor and holocaust survivor, Dr. Walter Ziffer, and others as she encouraged the graduates to true to their liberal arts education.

"Remember," she said, "you didn’t come to college for job training. You came to get an education and to get the knowledge, skills, and values to be citizens--and to be meaningfully employed. You came to live an examined life, to become a citizen, to practice narrative imagination."

Mars Hill University conferred 185 bachelor's degrees and 9 Master of Education degrees--the largest graduating class since 1998--Saturday morning in Moore Auditorium on the campus. Of the 185 undergraduates, 22 are adults who obtain their degrees through the MHU Adult and Graduate Studies program.

The largest group of undergraduate majors, by far, was some type of education (elementary, middle grades, integrated education, music education, special education, physical education). The second largest group of graduates was business majors, including both business administration and business management. Those majors were followed closely by social work, athletic training, and criminal justice.

This is the third cohort of students to graduate from Mars Hill's Master of Education program since the university instituted the graduate degree in 2011. Mars Hill will launch a Master of Management program during the 2016-17 academic year.

Student speakers for the graduation were Ansley Beth Ricker, a biology major from Greeneville, TN, and Stacey Cutshall Bowen, a social work major from Alexander, NC, representing the Adult and Graduate Studies program.

Daniel Aaron Edwards, an English major from Fayetteville, NC, brought the invocation. Special music was provided by Ryan David Kisner, a music education major from Weaverville, NC, and the Mars Hill University Gospel Choir.

Dr. Kathy Meacham came to Mars Hill University (then College) in 1989, as the first woman and the first non-Baptist (she is Presbyterian) in the religion and philosophy department. In addition to teaching at MHU, she is an adjunct professor in the Department of Social Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and is the course co-director of the ethics and humanism program for the UNC School of Medicine-Asheville Campus. She was inducted into the Academy of Educators at the UNC School of Medicine in May 2015. She serves on the Mission Hospitals Ethics Committee and has spoken widely on applied philosophy, world religions, interfaith dialogue, and feminist theology. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Temple University, in the philosophy of religion; an M.Ed. from Harvard University; and a B.A. from Eckerd College.


Spring 2016 Graduates of Mars Hill University, listed alphabetically by state:

Alison Catherine Fridley, Tuscaloosa AL
Kenneth Earl Anderson, Jr., China CA
Justin C. Yeargin, Oakland CA
David Wright King, IV, Apopka FL
Nicholas Ryan Villalobos, Belle Isle FL
Mason E. Hartley, Hilliard FL
Leah Behar, North Miami Beach FL
Shelby Lynn Savolainen, Winter Springs FL
Victoria Elizabeth Ann Stajduhar, Alpharetta GA
Tremaine Martinez Goddard, Athens GA
DeAndre Diquan Harper, Athens GA
Jeremy Andre Hughes, Athens GA
Arsidez Ramon Leon, Atlanta GA
Marquez Sabre Williams, Bogart GA
Zachary O. Naelitz, Cartersville GA
Nathan Thomas Wheeler, Clayton GA
Foluke Gordon-Lamar, Decatur GA
Erin Michelle Vickery, Roswell GA
Kevin Rodgers Haynes, Jr., Snellville GA
Nicholas C Caruso, Lawrence MA
Madeline Anne Chervenak, Columbia MD
Jamie Lynn Booze, Salisbury MD
Stacy Cutshall Bowen, Alcexander NC
Dwight Austin Blythe, Arden NC
Miranda Hope Southard, Asheboro NC
Jasmine Shakira Ann Blocker, Asheville NC
Michael Hunter Boydston, Asheville NC
Benjamin Arthur Crockett, Asheville NC
Ebony Starr Daniels, Asheville NC
Tracy Miles DeBruhl, Asheville NC
Kristine Dwyer, Asheville NC
Megan Leigh Hutson, Asheville NC
Tera Marie Jabs, Asheville NC
Shamika Denise Lindsey, Asheville NC
Deborah Paskert Oldt, Asheville NC
Tyler Edward Prestridge, Asheville NC
Katherine Wynn Stroupe, Asheville NC
Mitchell Thayer Blackmon, Barnardsville NC
Tamela Dianne Boyd, Belmont NC
Matthew Blake Dill, Bostic NC
Drew Daniel Huskey, Bryson City NC
Heather Nicole Styles, Bryson City NC
Jared Andrew Turbyfill, Bryson City NC
Haley Nicole Presnell, Burnsville NC
Ragan Victoria Ramsey, Burnsville NC
Nancy Nelson, Candler NC
Carrie Ann Plemmons, Candler NC
Casey Heath Warren, Candler NC
Jazmin Goodson, Charlotte NC
Sumner Blair Stancill, Charlotte NC
Daniella A. Van Dreel, Charlotte NC
Kayla Marie Bigmeat, Cherokee NC
Landon Eagle French, Cherokee NC
Levi Christian Patterson, Cherryville NC
Jonathan David Scalf, Claremont NC
Isaiah Aaron Cuthbertson, Cleveland NC
Kristin Taylor Bristol, Collettsville NC
Natalie Gray Hilbig, Columbus NC
Samantha Irene James, Columbus NC
Christopher Paul Mitchell, Creedmoor NC
Matthew Scott Sanders, Dallas NC
Daniel Preston Henry, Durham NC
Broderick Izell Jones, Durham NC
Megan Jane Shiflett, Durham NC
Ashley Lorraine Sizemore, E Flat Rock NC
Jordan Lee Phillips, Eden NC
Tess Earlene McGill, Enka NC
Beverly Ann Gladin, Etowah NC
Rebekah Dawn Henderson, Fairview NC
Angelique Nicole Hill, Fairview NC
Holly Nichole Lugo, Fairview NC
Daniel Aaron Edwards, Fayetteville NC
Joselyn Patrice Gorman, Fayetteville NC
James Tremel Lee, Fayetteville NC
Daniel Ryan Lerner, Fayetteville NC
Elizabeth Grindle Templeton, Flat Rock NC
Austin Frederick Evan Williams, Flat Rock NC
Kelly Morgan Lindsey, Fletcher NC
Sydney Marie McGee, Forest Oaks NC
Ashlyn Blair Long, Franklin NC
Adam Gerald Daniel, Franklinton NC
Hannah Elizabeth Mock, Fuquay Varina NC
Aerial Elaine Ellis, Gastonia NC
Taylor Anne Jordan, Gastonia NC
Devin Cole Abernethy, Granite Falls NC
Lacey Elaine Robinson, Green Mountain NC
Kevin Miles Sherry, Havelock NC
James Corey Fisher, Hendersonville NC
Tyler Matthew Harper, Hendersonville NC
Madison Courtney Moss, Hendersonville NC
Ashley Michelle Staton, Hendersonville NC
Kelli Nicole White, Hendersonville NC
Phillip Matthew Carroll, Hickory NC
Victoria Isabelle Fish, Hickory NC
Mahlon Patrick Hunter Monroe, Jr., Hickory NC
Holly Christine Townsend, Hiddenite NC
Dontonio Montel Garrison, High Point NC
Raven Danielle Brown, Holly Springs NC
Bethany Rachel Rost, Huntersville NC
Sarah Lynn Huber, Jacksonville NC
Patricia Ann Mathes, Knightdale NC
Chase Lawson Shermer, Knightdale NC
Chloe Gabrielle Corbin, Leicester NC
Wendy Herndon Taylor, Leicester NC
Meagan Rebecca McNeely, Lenoir NC
Cesar David Reyes, Lenoir NC
Kelsey Blair Poole, Lincolnton NC
Jessica Grace Woodburn, Louisburg NC
Rachel Mace Medford, Marion NC
Shelby Robinson, Marion NC
Chase Russell Ammons, Mars Hill NC
Lourie Annie Capps Jaradat, Mars Hill NC
Hayden Nathanael McGinnis, Mars Hill NC
Kelly Holdredge Thomas, Mars Hill NC
Brittany Renae Chandler, Marshall NC
Kandace Lechel Coates, Marshall NC
Ashley Mae Harwood, Marshall NC
Sylas Benjamin Owen, Marshall NC
Haeley Alina Baker, Matthews NC
Tommy Joseph Ollis, Matthews NC
Kelsey Gates, Mill Spring NC
Eugene Jones IV, Mocksville NC
Megan Alexandra Currie, Monroe NC
Stanley Joseph Holloway, Morganton NC
Amanda Brooke Thomas, Mount Airy NC
Andrew Kyle Sauer, Newport NC
Alain Kyle Diaz, Raleigh NC
Krista Nicole Dunlap, Raleigh NC
Tyler Ray-Anna Moffat, Richlands NC
Landrey Mae Bowman, Ronda NC
Garrett Kendal Burrell, Rosman NC
Michala Nicole Guinn, Rosman NC
Ciara Brooke Warren, Saluda NC
Tia Renea Black, Shelby NC
Sarah Frances Johnson, Siloam NC
Destiny Marie Hewett, Sneads Ferry NC
William Eugene Nanney, Spruce Pine NC
Alex Michael Griggs, Statesville NC
Kedar Shariff Peeples, Statesville NC
Khloé Alisabeth Rowe, Statesville NC
John Tyler Gifford, Swannanoa NC
Quentin Aaron Powell, Swannona NC
Brook Elizabeth Hudson, Vale NC
Jenna Barbara Parker, Vale NC
Ellenor Jane Grier, Waxhaw NC
Tyler Lee Gouge, Weaverville NC
Ryan David Kisner, Weaverville NC
Justice William Mann, Weaverville NC
Cameron Reid McDaniel, Weaverville NC
Lindsey Elizabeth Plemmons, Weaverville NC
Zachary Lane Shook, Weaverville NC
Amethyst AveMaria Strivelli, Weaverville NC
Tovah Morgané Welch, Weaverville NC
Roman Blevins, Wilkesboro NC
Lindsey Nicole Ball, Winston Salem NC
Genice Alexis Lane, Winston Salem NC
Emily Lynn LaSasso, Hammonton NJ
Brittany Jahmillah Baker, Plainfield NJ
Patrick Edward Riehl, Lucasville OH
Kenneth A. Dixon, East Stroudsburg PA
Andrew Jacob Seip, Schnecksville PA
Stuart Thomas Couch, Columbia SC
Charles Phillips Hartzog, Gaffney SC
Brittany Danielle Duckett, Greenville SC
Elijah Jones, Greenville SC
Sara Elizabeth Berrian, Lexington SC
Lacy Jo Dill, Lexington SC
Cody James Dill, Lexington SC
Codie Logan New, North SC
Frank Jackson Ayers IV, Piedmont SC
John Clayton Croom, Rock Hill SC
Abbigale Marie Spitler, Crossville TN
Ansley Beth Ricker, Greeneville TN
Stephen Richard Pate, Johnson City TN
Hannah Colleen Russell, Knoxville TN
Dawn Elizabeth Radford, Lenoir City TN
Victoria Rachel Barrett, Newport TN
Kelsey Nicole Espinosa, Austin TX
Cadence Grace Wilmoth, Glade Spring VA
Jonathan Eli Spence, Riner VA
Savannah Elizabeth Hulbert, Wytheville VA
Destiny Lynn Stratton, Barboursville WV
Reiner Markus Gattner, Naumburg, Germany
Drew Henry Rosser, Durban, South Africa
Brady Rothschild, Plettenberg, South Africa