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Transylvania awards 240 degrees at Shearer’s final commencement as president

Commencement 2010
The class of 2010 gathers on the Beck Center steps for the class photo prior to the commencement ceremony on the lawn of Old Morrison.

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University awarded bachelor of arts degrees to 240 seniors on Saturday in the final commencement ceremony for President Charles L. Shearer, who will retire from the presidency at the end of July after a 27-year tenure in the office.

A crowd of friends and family, faculty and trustees looked on from the lawn of Old Morrison as Shearer conferred the diplomas. In delivering the commencement address, he made a point of combining his feelings at leaving office with his devotion to Transy students throughout his tenure, and especially to the class of 2010.

“What has given me the greatest joy over the years has simply been knowing students,” Shearer said. “Because I am departing from the presidency, I feel as though I am part of the class of 2010 and that we are graduating together. I am confident that Transylvania has prepared you well to go out in the world and make a difference.”

Shearer came to Transylvania in 1979 as vice president for finance and was appointed president in 1983. His 27 years of service is the longest tenure of any president in the history of Kentucky’s oldest college, founded in 1780 as the 16h college in the nation and the first west of the Allegheny Mountains.

As he concluded his remarks, Shearer looked back on his tenure with a sense of fulfillment at the university’s progress under his leadership. Among the highlights are an approximately 70 percent increase in enrollment, new scholarship and teaching awards that have raised the academic level of students and professors and 16 building and renovation projects that have transformed the physical campus.

“Reflecting on the last 27 years as president, I can look back with the knowledge that I have given it my all,” Shearer said. “I will always cherish the relationships I have had with my colleagues on the faculty and staff, and I love this institution.”

Graduating senior Tyler Murphy, a political science major from Flatwoods, Ky., urged his classmates to confront the problems of the world and strive to solve them.

“The education we have acquired over these past four years has empowered us to make a difference in this world,” he said. “We do not know all the answers, but that doesn’t mean we should stop asking questions. We do not fully understand the world’s problems, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to solve them. That is our mission. This is our moment.”

Honorary doctor of humane letters degrees were awarded to Shearer and to Andrew M. Moore II, a 1971 Transylvania graduate and Lexington physician specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery. He is associated with Plastic Surgeons of Lexington, chief of staff at the Lexington Health South Surgery Center and affiliated with Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East Hospital and Central Baptist Hospital.

Moore is a founding member and president of Surgery on Sunday, an innovative volunteer program that offers free surgical services to the working poor and uninsured. For this work, the Bluegrass Area Chapter of the American Red Cross named him 2009 Fayette County Hero of the Year, and the national news organization CNN selected him as a 2010 CNN Hero and a nominee for 2010 CNN Hero of the Year.

To see video highlights of commencement on our YouTube channel, click here.

To watch a commencement slideshow click here.

5/29/2010

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