Judson College’s new president exhorts graduates to ‘guard your good intentions’


July 1, 2019

A day of elegant pomp and circumstance steeped in rich tradition marked the 181stcommencement exercises for the 49 graduates of Judson College in Marion on June 29.

An occasional outburst of cheers from proud family members along with a new president who added the ringing of the triangle — Judson’s historic symbol for how students from the 19thcentury were awakened each morning — to the start of the processional also enhanced the experience.

“To the graduating class of 2019, your future is limited only by the extent of your ambition and creativity,” said Mark Tew, Judson’s newly elected 23rdpresident. “Since 1838, Judson has graduated young women who have been leaders in industry, jurisprudence, research, teaching, and model citizens with every imaginable responsibility.

“By definition you are world leaders today as you join the 6% of the world’s population that has a college degree,” Tew said. “Graduates, as we began our ceremony, you followed your faculty into this auditorium. During your time at Judson they were your mentors, your examples and your instructors.

“As we depart today, you will assume the position of leadership and we will all follow your example as you become the mentors and teachers of another generation,” he said. “Accept my final words of exhortation and remember Paul’s instruction in 2 Timothy 1:14 to guard your good intentions.”

Sharon Curry Thompson, a 1991 Judson alumna, delivered the commencement address.

Thompson, president of United Community Bank’s central Atlanta region, challenged the graduates to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself” as they move to the next step in their journey.

“Life isn’t going to work out exactly as you have planned,” Thompson said as she shared highlights of her life since moving the tassel from the right to the left that June day 28 years ago — seasons of life as a military wife, mother and career woman.

“To be a leader is to serve others,” Thompson said. “Jesus set a great example for us.

“God will do crazy things in your life if you will let Him. He wants to show out. … Remember the greatest commandments.”

Along with the degrees awarded in the areas of arts, science, nursing and social work, three students received special honors and five students — Kacie Adams, Erin Brown, Logan Lanier, Nicole Smith and Valentyna Trull — were highlighted for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Those receiving special honors were:

  • Erin Brown (summa cum laude) — 2019 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

In cooperation with the Sullivan Foundation, this award is presented to a student who displays noble character, love of learning, helpfulness, kindness and the ability to apply a variety of spiritual qualities practically to daily living.

  • Megan Matthews — Faulkner Award

Established in 1981 to honor the memory of former trustee and successful businessman J.C. Faulkner, this award is presented annually to the senior who has achieved a superior academic record and who has distinguished herself as an outstanding student and an enthusiastic supporter of Judson.

  • Kayla Oliver — Bible Award

The Bible Award is presented each year to the senior rendering the most outstanding Christian spirit and service to the college during her years at Judson.

Following commencement and the traditional activities around the school’s senior oak tree, graduates and guests were invited to a reception on campus and a tour of the president’s home, where Tew and his wife, Ann, now reside. (TAB)

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