In his address, Kesler, the former president of Youth for Christ, a worldwide evangelical Christian outreach to young people, encouraged the graduates to take what they have learned from Union and, referring to the biblical analogy of salt, "season the world around you with God's grace and love."
While at Union University, Kesler was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree for "extraordinary service to the community, to the University, or to the Church of Jesus Christ."
Union granted approximately 150 undergraduate and graduate degrees at what was the fourth winter graduation to be held at the university. The University Academic Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed on a Union graduate, was awarded to Alex White, a resident of Jackson, Tenn.
A luncheon was held for the graduates and their families on Friday and academic excellence awards recognizing the accomplishments of individual students were given. Students receiving the medals included:
Also recognized were members of two academic honor societies, Alpha Chi - whose membership is open to the top ranking ten percent of the junior and senior classes, and Alpha Sigma Lambda - whose membership is open to the upper ten percent of Adult Studies students.
The following students and honor society members graduating in the December Class of 2000 include:
Alpha Chi - Christian Kinney and Alex White
Alpha Sigma Lambda - Jason Alexander, Amber Arnold, Carmetra Avery, Lyndlee Raines Avery, Tracy Douglas, Brenda J. Ferguson, John Griffin, James Harrison, Gregory Herschell, Janet Hetzler, Terry Himelrick, Terry D. Hopper, Alisa Houpt, Kathleen Kinkead, Anna Littleton, Vicki McMillion, James Medling, John Newman, Anna Sandbother Prest, Jeffrey Rasberry, Kimberly Rives, Sandra Showalter, Christopher Smith, Desree Welborn, and Kerri Williams