|CU stages 166th graduation Saturday|
|Wednesday, April 30, 2008|
A pair of alumni will take on important duties as part of Cumberland University’s 166th Commencement ceremony set for Saturday, May 3.The Rev. William Lee "WL" Baker, a member of the Cumberland University Class of 1930 who will celebrate his 100th birthday in August, will serve as the macebearer for the upcoming ceremony.Among Cumberland’s oldest living alumni, Baker was born Aug. 3, 1908 in New Middle, Tenn. to Pleas and Dora Baker. At the age of 12, he and his family moved to Lebanon where Baker would graduate from Lebanon High School and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from CU in 1930.
Bro. Baker has served numerous churches during his lifetime. Shortly after graduating from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1932, he was called to his first church, Hopewell in Robertson County. From 1949 until 1973, he served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Donelson.
During his time there, he saw the construction of a new auditorium and a peak membership of 1,871 members. Between 1964 and 1971, Baker held several positions with the Southern Baptist Convention, including as a member of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Convention.Since retiring in 1973, Bro. Baker has continued to minister by serving nearly 30 churches as interim pastor, the most recent being Calvary Baptist Church on Sparta Pike in Wilson County.Baker has said one of his fondest memories was delivering the "Sermon on the Mount" in Cumberland’s historic Baird Chapel in October 1975."I cannot think of a better person to lead this year’s processional than Rev. Baker," said CU President Dr. Harvill C. Eaton remarked. "He has led a remarkable life and is an exemplary citizen. Our University, our graduates and our faculty will be happy to welcome such a venerable patriarch of the Cumberland University family back to campus."The convocational for the University’s 166th Commencement will be delivered by another CU graduate, Pastor John Hunn (Class of 1987).During his time at Cumberland, Hunn was engaged in a number of campus activities.
He played baseball and basketball, and he served as the first-ever president of Cumberland’s Baptist Student Union. Hunn was recently named senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon."We are so very fortunate to welcome these upstanding men back to their alma mater, and we are grateful they have elected to be a part of our 166th Commencement ceremony," Eaton concluded. "They are men of character with giving hearts and a steadfast commitment to a higher power, and they are fine examples for our graduating class."Cumberland will also honor country music entertainer Charlie Daniels and his wife, Hazel, during commencement by presenting them with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The Daniels reside near Mt. Juliet.
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were established by the New York Southern Society in 1925 in memory of Mr. Sullivan, a Southerner who became a prominent lawyer, businessman and philanthropist in New York during the late 19th century.Each year, Cumberland University presents the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to a deserving member of the community for their service and dedication to helping others. Cumberland University’s 166th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 3 at 10 a.m. on Memorial Lawn.For more information, visit http://www.cumberland.edu/undergrad/commencement.