Robert Stevens, Motlow State Community College trustee, Rutherford County commissioner and attorney-at-law, will be the commencement speaker on May 6, when he addresses Motlow’s largest graduating class, according to Brenda Cannon, director of special events.
The college will continue its tradition of hosting two commencement ceremonies; the ceremonies will be held at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. inside Nisbett Center, Copperweld Arena, on the Moore County campus.
Moore County students and the nursing class will have degrees conferred at the 1 p.m. ceremony. At 4 p.m., students who attend the Fayetteville, McMinnville and Smyrna campuses will march. The annual nursing pinning ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in the same location.
“The 2016-17 year has been a banner year at Motlow State, and we continue to set records throughout the institution, including a record number of students marching in this year’s commencement,” Cannon said.
“This graduation ceremony is a historical event. We will celebrate the first procession of Tennessee Promise graduates. Motlow will confer more than 900 degrees between the two ceremonies.”
To accommodate the anticipated large crowds, both ceremonies will be live streamed on the Motlow Facebook page. Viewers can go to www.facebook.com/motlowofficial and click “follow” to be notified anytime the college streams live, or they can visit www.mscc.edu/live the day of commencement.
According to Motlow State President Tony Kinkel, “These are exciting times at Motlow State, and I am so fortunate to be a part of this progressive teaching and learning community. I work with exceptional students, faculty and staff, and enjoy the support of an engaged foundation board passionate in its advocacy for the college. The foundation is rising to the call to help ensure access to higher education to all students by helping us expand facilities or programs at all of our campuses. So this is the perfect opportunity to have Trustee Stevens serve as our commencement speaker. His address to the graduates connects them to the community leaders working behind the scenes to support their success.”
Stevens, a Rutherford County native, civic leader and steadfast champion for education is a heartfelt advocate for the unique mission of community colleges, according to the college. He understands the critical role community colleges play in ensuring student success through access, affordability, transferability, and direct-to-market degree programs for high wage-earning industries.
Stevens has worked to support Motlow State, most recently through his advocacy for urgent needs of the Smyrna campus. Elected to the Rutherford County Commission in 2010, and re-elected in 2014 to represent District 12, which includes parts of Smyrna and LaVergne, Stevens has used his influence to garner support from the Rutherford County Commission to secure a $400,000 pledge in support of the third classroom building at Motlow-Smyrna. In 2012, he rallied the Commission for the cause of Motlow and was successful in securing a $200,000 pledge for the second classroom building, the MaryLou Apple Science-Technology-Allied Health Building. Since accepting a trusteeship appointment in 2012, Stevens has supported the mission of the foundation through leadership, philanthropy, and service.
“I am pleased to serve Motlow State in the role as commencement speaker,” Stevens said. “It has been less than 10 years since I graduated law school, and I remember the excitement, the anxiety, and fear of the unknown. I want to share a few of those relevant memories, challenge and encourage our graduates to maintain high standards and serve others, as well as pay tribute to those who have served as their support system throughout their academic experience. Attaining goals, regardless of the aspiration, is always a collective and collaborative effort. Graduation is a day of celebration for the entire community.”
Having grown up in and continuing to live in and work in Smyrna, Stevens manages the law firm Stevens & Stevens, PLLC. Services provided by Stevens include probate, estate planning, divorce, child custody, litigation and consumer bankruptcy (debtors and creditors). He worked as a legal assistant for Imogene W. Bolin, Attorney-at-Law, from 2007-2009. Upon receiving his law degree and passing the bar exam in 2009, Stevens went into private practice. In 2014, he and his sister established the current firm.
“The Rutherford County community has been good to my family, and I want to do my part to ensure it serves the needs of others too,” Stevens said. “I look forward to serving our community and supporting business-friendly policies that will provide our residents with even more opportunities to grow and prosper, and this includes the expansion of Motlow State.”
Stevens is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, and earned a juris doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2009. Graduating with honors, Magna Cum Laude, Stevens worked as a staff member on The University of Memphis Law Review and is published in Volume 39, Number 2.
In addition to being a Motlow College Foundation trustee, Stevens is a member of the Rutherford and Cannon Counties Bar Association; Rotary Club of Smyrna, where he serves on the Board of Directors; Sons of the American Revolution, Stones River Chapter, Murfreesboro; Smyrna Independent Merchants Association, and the Smyrna Church of Christ.
For more information on commencement 2017, visit the Motlow State website at www.mscc.edu.