Union University
Union University Dept of History

Department News




Many History Students Receive Bachelor’s Degrees at Union’s Spring Graduation

May 17, 2014

Twelve history majors received their bachelor’s degrees at Union University’s spring commencement on May 17, 2014, and one history major participated in the services as an expected July graduate. In addition, there were four students who graduated with history minors, and one history minor projected to graduate in July.

Union University President David S. Dockery presided over the graduation ceremonies, his last as the school’s president after serving 18 years in that post. There were 630 graduates in the spring class, which brought the total number of graduates during the years of the Dockery administration to some 15,000. That figure represents approximately 70 percent of all Union graduates alive today.

Dr. Gregory Thornbury, who in 2013 was named president of The King’s College in New York City, delivered the commencement address on “One Last Time: Solidarity.” Thornbury stressed, as he did throughout his long tenure as the dean of Union’s School of Theology and Missions, the importance of solidarity among Christian believers.

The history majors who graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees included: Colby Benefield, who also majored in psychology; Allie Durham, who completed a major in French as well; Colton Gebben, who was a Biblical studies –languages major too; Zac McMillan, who doubled with a major in intercultural studies; Ginny Seger; Heather Stricklin; Zachary Thompson, who also majored in Biblical studies – languages; and Gracie Wise, who in addition had a major in English. The history majors who earned Bachelor of Science degrees were Thomas Blackketter, Kimberly Chesney, Charles Snow, and Luke Trammell, who also majored in political science. Cara Snowden participated in the graduation as history major expected to complete a Bachelor of Science curriculum in July. The four students who graduated with history minors were Timothy J. Bollinger, Haley Dauer, Grace Morriss, and Rachel Thomas. History minor James Matthew Taylor was classified as an expected July graduate.

Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society also saw many of its members graduate. They included the following history majors and minors: Benefield, Durham, Gebben, Morriss, Seger, Snow, Stricklin, Thompson, Trammell, and Wise. The other graduating members were Jessica Hatfield, Kelly Rawls, and Laura Kay Richardson.

One of the last items at the graduation services was the presentation of the Elizabeth Tigrett Medal by Union Provost Carla Sanderson to Morriss, an engineering major from Flower Mound, Texas. The medal is the most prestigious honor that Union University offers to graduating seniors, and 2014 marked the 103rd year of its bestowal.


Graduating history majors/Phi Alpha Theta members join together for a photo prior to Union University's spring commencement exercises at the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014. They are: (front row, left to right) Kelly Rawls, Laura Kay Richardson, and Jessica Hatfield; (second row, left to right) Kim Chesney, Cara Snowden, Heather Stricklin, Grace Morriss, Allie Durham, and Ginny Seger; (back row, left to right) Josh Lents, Colton Gebben, Gracie Wise, Zach Thompson, Zac McMillan, Charles Snow, Luke Trammell, and Colby Benefield.


Graduating history and psychology major Colby Benefield (center) stands with his parents at an afternoon reception for spring graduates in the Grant Events Center at Union University on May 17, 2014.


Zach Thompson, a graduating senior with a double major in Biblical studies-languages and history, stands with his wife Courtney at a reception for spring graduates on May 17, 2014, in the Grant Events Center at Union University.


Zach Thompson (second from left), a graduating senior with a double major in Biblical studies-languages and history, stands with his wife Courtney (left) and his parents at a reception for spring graduates in the Grant Events Center at Union on May 17, 2014.


Graduating history major Heather Stricklin (center) stands with her sister (left to right), mother, and grandparents at a reception for graduates at Union University's Carl Grant Events Center on May 17, 2014.


Luke Trammell (second from right), a graduating senior with a double major in political science and history, stands with his parents and sister at a reception for graduates in the Grant Events Center on May 17, 2014.


Dr. Stephen Carls stands with graduating engineering major and history minor Grace Morriss at a reception for graduates in Union's Grant Events Center on May 17, 2014.


Graduating Phi Alpha Theta members join together for a photo prior to Union's spring commencement exercises on May 17, 2014. They are: (left to right) Jessica Hatfield, Kelly Rawls, Laura Kay Richardson, Gracie Wise, Heather Stricklin, Zach Thompson, Grace Morriss, Colton Gebben, Allie Durham, Charles Snow, Ginny Seger, Luke Trammell, and Colby Benefield.


Graduating history and political science major Luke Trammell marches toward the Oman Arena for Union's commencement services on May 17, 2014. Photo by Matt McDaniel


President Gregory Thornbury (left to right) of The King's College in New York City, Union University's President David S. Dockery, and Union's Executive Vice President for Academic Administration Gene Fant stand during the graduation procession at the school's commencement exercises in the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Union University President David S. Dockery welcomes attendees to the school's spring commencement services at Jackson's Oman Arena on May 17, 2014. Photo by Amanda Rohde


Union University President David S. Dockery welcomes attendees to the school's spring commencement exercises at Jackson's Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Dr. Gregory Thornbury, president of The King's College in New York City, delivers the commencement address on "One Last Time: Solidarity" at Union's spring graduation on May 17, 2014.


Dr. Gregory Thornbury, president of The King's College in New York City, delivers the commencement address at Union University's spring graduation in Jackson's Oman Arena on May 17, 2014. Photo by Amanda Rohde


Allie Durham, a double major in history and French, moves her graduation tassel to the left after receiving her diploma at Union's spring commencement services on May 17, 2014. Photo by Matt McDaniel


Colton Gebben, a double major in history and Biblical studies - languages, waits in line to get his diploma at Union University's spring commencement exercises on May 17, 2014.


History and intercultural studies major Zac McMillan accepts his diploma and congratulations from Union University President David S. Dockery at the school's spring graduation on May 17, 2014. Photo by Amanda Rohde


Spanish major and history minor Rachel Thomas shows delight as she approaches the stage to receive her bachelor's degree at Union's spring commencement exercises in the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Gracie Wise, a double major in English and history, receives her diploma and congratulations from Union University President David S. Dockery at the school's spring commencement services on May 17, 2014. Photo by Emily Stookey


History major Kim Chesney smiles as she approaches the stage to receive her diploma at Union's graduation exercises in the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Phi Alpha Theta member Jessica Hatfield makes her way to the stage to receive her bachelor of science degree at Union's spring graduation on May 17, 2014.


Phi Alpha Theta member Kelly Rawls pauses for a photo on her way to the stage to receive her bachelor of science degree at Union's spring graduation in the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Phi Alpha Theta member Laura Kay Richardson moves toward the stage to receive her diploma at Union's spring commencement exercises on May 17, 2014.


Colby Benefield, a double major in history and psychology, displays his diploma for the camera at Union University's commencement services at the Oman Arena on May 17, 2014. Photo by Morris Abernathy


Union University President David S. Dockery salutes the Class of 2014 at the school's commencement exercises in Jackson's Oman Arena on May 17, 2014.


Engineering major and history minor Grace Morriss starts her walk to the graduation stage after being announced as the winner of the 2014 Elizabeth Tigrett Medal during Union's commencement services on May 17. Photo by Emily Stookey


Union University President David S. Dockery congratulates Grace Morriss as the recipient of the 2014 Elizabeth Tigrett Medal at the school's commencement services on May 17, 2014. Dr. Gene Fant, Union's executive vice president for academic administration is on the left. Photo by Morris Abernathy