December 2017 Commencement

The University of Memphis awarded 1,678 degrees, including 48 doctoral degrees, during the winter Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 17, at FedExForum.

There were three ceremonies: at 10 a.m., the Herff College of Engineering, School of Public Health, College of Communication and Fine Arts, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Loewenberg College of Nursing and University College awarded degrees; at 1:30 p.m., students from the College of Arts & Sciences and School of Communication Sciences and Disorders received degrees; and at 5:30 p.m., the Fogelman College of Business & Economics, College of Education, School of Health Studies and Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management conferred degrees.

For the first time, graduating students were the featured speakers. Camille Rose Potter, who earned a bachelor's in journalism, spoke at the first ceremony. Brianna Lynn Anderson, who received a bachelor's degrees in sociology and chemistry, addressed the second ceremony. Lauren Elizabeth Stracener, who earned a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling, was the featured speaker for the third ceremony.

Potter has a true passion for community outreach, especially within the City of Memphis. Her journey first began as an education coordinator with Memphis City Beautiful, where she partnered with Shelby County Schools to promote community engagement through citywide cleanup and projects that engaged students, families and community-based organizations, as well as corporate volunteers. Potter found an interest in public relations and obtained an Urban Fellow internship with the city. After working in customer service, she learned the importance of communication and decided to pursue a major in journalism.

Anderson graduated with a dual major in chemistry and sociology. She has assisted in conducting biopsychological research throughout the University, and has held several leadership roles, including president of HEALS. Anderson aspires to be a physician assistant and plans to attend Emory University to receive her master's in physician assistant studies.

Stracener earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Arkansas State University in 2015. Earlier this year, she received the award for Most Outstanding Graduate Student in Rehabilitation Counseling for her continued community involvement with individuals with disabilities, exceptional academic standing and leadership excellence. After graduation, Stracener plans to continue assisting individuals with disabilities gain competitive employment in integrated settings both locally and abroad.