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Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

Just over 6,000 students make up this year’s graduating class.

Everyone at University of the Cumberlands wishes heartfelt congratulations to all graduates in the Class of 2024!

Just over 6,000 students make up this year’s graduating class. Approximately 167 graduates completed an associate degree, 1,265 finished a bachelor’s degree, 3,775 received a master’s degree, 271 completed an educational specialist degree, and 530 earned a doctoral degree. Graduates represented many different ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures, but they all now have one thing in common: they made it!

“Graduates, today marks a significant milestone in your lives,” said Dr. Larry L. Cockrum, university president, during commencement ceremonies. “You have persevered through years of hard work and now stand here, ready to take on the world. I am honored to congratulate each and every one of you on your outstanding achievements.”

The graduating class represented 49 states in the U.S. and the territories of the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as 18 countries around the world. Among undergraduate students, two-thirds grew up in Appalachian areas, just over half competed in university athletics, and the majority of graduates were involved in a combination of different music ensembles, campus ministries, clubs, and campus organizations.

The Class of 2024 performed 41,574 hours of community service. That equates to 5,197 8-hour workdays, or 1,040 40-hour work weeks. University of the Cumberlands designates graduates who complete 200 or more hours of community service hours as Hutton Scholars. This year, the graduating class had 84 Hutton Scholars.

This year, two graduates were named Presidential Scholars as recognition of their academic excellence and significant research in their major field of study. Presidential Scholars perform an advanced independent study or creative activity, then give a thesis and oral presentation of their discoveries before their major’s academic department and a select committee. Both Anthony “Cage” Grubb of Barbourville, Kentucky, and Samuel “Blake” McCullah of Williamsburg, Kentucky, were approved as Presidential Scholars for 2024.

Among the Class of 2024, 306 graduates qualified as J.T. Vallandingham Scholars, named in memory of a late professor at Cumberlands. To qualify as a J.T. Vallandingham Scholar, students must have completed 96 hours of coursework with a minimum of 48 hours obtained at Cumberlands. Students must also maintain a 3.75 cumulative grade point average (GPA) or higher with a GPA of at least 3.50 for the first 48 hours of college classes. Furthermore, students must not have any incomplete courses except in the case of Presidential Scholars research.

Latin honors consist of Summa Cum Laude (graduates who maintained a grade point average of 3.95 – 4.0), Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.85 – 3.94), and Cum Laude (3.7 – 3.84). The Class of 2024 (including students who will officially complete degrees this summer), had 199 students make Summa Cum Laude, 159 make Magna Cum Laude, and 176 make Cum Laude.

Each year, University of the Cumberlands distributes campus awards to students nominated by the Cumberlands community and decided by a select committee. This year, the winner of the A.T. Siler Memorial Service Award is Madison “Madi” Fields, a junior from Barbourville, Kentucky. The 2024 T.E. Mahan Memorial Service Award recipient is Chaz Disney, a junior from Corbin, Kentucky. Jordan Richardson, a graduating senior from Williamsburg, Kentucky, won the 2024 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The 2024 winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award is Kristin Mitchell, a graduating senior from Corbin, Kentucky. The Gorman Jones Campus Leadership Award was given to Haleigh Hopper, a graduating senior from Barbourville, Kentucky. Graduating senior Josh Carey was awarded the 2024 T.J. Roberts Campus Leadership Award.

Campus award winners, Hutton Scholars, Latin honors students, Presidential Scholars, and J.T. Vallandingham Scholars were recognized during undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Additionally, during the ceremonies, Dr. Cockrum told graduates, “We are living in uncertain times, with many challenges facing our communities and the world at large. But we must not let these challenges deter us. We must continue to persevere, to push through obstacles, and to make a positive impact in the world. So, dream big, work hard, make some mistakes, and always be kind. These are the values that have guided me throughout my life, and I believe they can help you, too, as you embark on your own journey. Once again, congratulations to the graduates of University of the Cumberlands.”

College is quite a time. From deciding on majors, to making new friendships, to beginning romantic relationships, to competing in fine arts or sports, to navigating changing family dynamics, to adjusting to living away from home, life is full for college students. So, for all who have read this far into the article, here are a few real-life, non-GPA stats about the college experience:

On average, assuming only fall and spring semesters, college students spent 43,200 on homework/studying during their four-year college career.

Assuming college students consumed an average amount of hours on Netflix, they spent 2,417 hours watching their favorite shows and movies over the past four years.

Assuming the graduates made Keurig coffee in their dorms half the time and bought fancier coffee beverages the other half (and assuming only one coffee was drunk per day… a potentially low estimate), they spent a little more than $2,900 on coffee over the course of four years.

Graduates walked across the viaduct on campus a minimum of twice a day to get to and from academic buildings, meaning they had a minimum of 1,152 trips across the viaduct.

Cumberlands’ Williamsburg campus is located near a Walmart that is regularly frequented by college students. If they visited Walmart once a week during the fall and spring semesters, graduates visited Walmart 144 times throughout their college careers.

And finally, assuming the graduates ate a Chick-fil-A sandwich four times a week for every week they lived on campus, they ate a total of 576 chicken sandwiches. And hopefully enjoyed plenty of waffle fries with them.