As the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 was cancelled last year due to COVID precautions, the University made the decision to hold a combined ceremony for both classes this year. Separate ceremonies will be held for those receiving undergraduate degrees and for those receiving graduate degrees.
The combined undergraduate ceremony for candidates receiving associate or bachelor’s degrees will be held at 10:00 am. The speaker for the ceremony will be Emily Greer, chief administrative officer of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who will also be recognized by the University with an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
Greer, an alumna from the CBU Class of 1984, currently serves as vice chair of the CBU Board of Trustees and also serves on a number of other community boards in Memphis, including the Greater Memphis Chamber, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, and Compass Community Schools. She was a member of the boards for Ronald McDonald House of Memphis and LeMoyne-Owen College and served as the co-chair of the transition team for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland in 2015. Greer has also received numerous honors and awards, including the Influential Black Women in Business Award from The Network Journal, the Workforce Diversity Executive Leadership Award from the National Organization for Workforce Diversity Board of Directors, Top 25 Women in Business from the Memphis Business Journal, and 50 Women of Excellence from the Tri-State Defender.
The combined graduate ceremony for candidates receiving master’s degrees will be held at 3:00 p.m. The speaker for the ceremony will be Beverly Robertson, president and CEO of Greater Memphis Chamber.
Robertson is the first female president of the Chamber and has served in the position since 2019. She worked at Holiday Inn Worldwide for 19 years in a diverse range of positions, and upon leaving the corporate world, she was asked to become executive director of the National Civil Rights Museum and ultimately spent over 17 years as the museum’s president. She raised over $43 million during her tenure, built the annual Freedom Awards to global prominence, and led the museum to world-class status — being voted one of the Top Ten Treasures in America by USA Today.
The University will stream a live broadcast of each ceremony as a service for graduate families and loved ones who are unable to attend the ceremonies in person. Guests may view the ceremonies at cbu.edu/commencement as they are happening, and recorded versions will be made available on the CBU YouTube channel in the days following the ceremonies.
The University will present degrees to 908 participating graduates in the two ceremonies — 448 from the Class of 2020 and 460 from the Class of 2021. These totals include 19 associate degrees, 575 bachelor’s degrees, and 314 master’s degrees. CBU grants the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Studies, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Science and Mathematics, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management, Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, Master of Science in Engineering Management, and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
COVID precautions will be strictly observed at both ceremonies in the interest of public health and the well-being of the University community. Graduates will allowed four guests, who will be seated in family pods. All attendees (graduates, guests, and University personnel) will be required to complete an online or printed health check, and masks will be required to enter the Convention Center and must be worn for the entirety of the ceremonies.