Dawson to deliver graduation address at LMU Saturday

Published 11:15 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will hold its Spring Commencement Exercises on May 5 at 11 a.m. in Tex Turner Arena on the main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. Dr. B. James Dawson, president emeritus, will deliver the graduation address.

Over 500 degree candidates will participate in the ceremony as the University confers 151 associate, 199 baccalaureate, 211 masters, one educational specialist and 10 doctoral degrees. Additionally, the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, LMU Duncan School of Law and LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine will all hold individual commencement ceremonies in the coming weeks.

Dawson served as the 20th president of LMU and retired at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. His service to the institution continues as President Emeritus and National Honorary Co-Chair of the Kincaid Challenge for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.

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A veteran educator with two presidencies on his vita, Dawson joined the University in fall of 2009 as the chief operating officer and chancellor of the main campus. Later that academic year he was tapped to fill the presidency, taking office in February of 2010. He was inaugurated during homecoming activities in October of 2010.

During Dawson’s tenure with the University, LMU ascended to Level VI Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation, opened the doors to the LMU Duncan School of Law, started a Doctorate of Education program and founded the LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine. The University expanded its physical plant with the construction of the Village Apartments and the Hamilton Math and Science building. He oversaw the acquisition and renovation of properties in the historic town of Cumberland Gap and championed the “Arts in the Gap” programming that followed. LMU opened several extended learning sites during his tenure, including LMU-Cedar Bluff in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a Caylor School of Nursing facility in Corbin, Kentucky. Dawson also contributed greatly to LMU’s advancement work, as the institution raised nearly $40 million since 2010.

Dawson came to LMU after retiring from Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, where he served as president for seven years. With Dawson at the helm, Coker College successfully completed a $23 million capital campaign. Dawson served his first presidency at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tennessee, from 1995 until 2002.

A native Hoosier, Dawson earned a B.A. and M.A. at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, and began his academic career at his alma mater as an admissions counselor. While still working at the University of Evansville, he received his doctorate in administration of higher education from Indiana University. During his tenure at the University of Evansville, Dawson held a variety of administrative positions, culminating with a Vice President post.

Dawson is a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International and completed the CASE Institute for Advancement at Dartmouth College. Dawson and his wife, Karen, have two grown children and three grandchildren. They split time between Florida, Indiana and Tennessee.