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ETSU announces speakers for fall graduation ceremonies

Contributed — ETSU • Dec 5, 2013 at 5:04 PM

East Tennessee State University’s Travis Graves will be the speaker at ETSU’s 10 a.m. fall Commencement exercise, and Dr. Shirley C. Raines, president emeritus of the University of Memphis, will deliver the 2 p.m. address on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center (the Minidome).

Graves is the recipient of East Tennessee State University’s 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching, as well as this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Award in Teaching.

An associate professor in the Department of Art and Design, he has been part of the ETSU faculty since 2005. When he arrived, he was appointed coordinator of the Art Foundations program, providing a base of skills and knowledge for first-year art majors. In 2009, he became the department’s sculpture area coordinator. Graves has taught 15 different courses, including studio art and sculpture classes, from introductory to graduate levels.

In his creative research endeavors, Graves states that the direction of his award-winning artwork is rooted in addressing notions of expectation and cultural attitudes as they define mankind’s relationship to the natural world.

Graves has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in many venues, including The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Ky.; the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Mich.; the Root Division Art Center in San Francisco; the Lied Art Gallery at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.; and the United Art Gallery at the William King Museum in Abingdon, Va. His upcoming research includes a solo exhibition of his artwork at Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, N.C.

Graves holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art from Iowa State University and a master of fine arts in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received the 2003 International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

Raines became the 11th president of the University of Memphis on July 1, 2001, and she was designated president emeritus upon her retirement on June 30, 2013. She is the first woman to hold the presidency of the University of Memphis, which was founded in 1912.

Raines is the author of 14 books and numerous journal articles and is widely regarded as an expert in teacher education and early childhood education. She participated on both the White House Business Council panel on Universities with High Growth Entrepreneurship for the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and, for the last seven years, Harvard’s Institute for Presidents and Chancellors. In addition, she has served as a keynote speaker for Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management.

Described in The Commercial Appeal as “powerful, prepared and personable,” Raines has become known for her effective work in building productive partnerships on and off the campus. This emphasis enabled the University of Memphis to realize significant increases in annual giving. Establishment of the University of Memphis Research Foundation, along with the university’s focus on engaged scholarship in the community, facilitated an increase of sponsored research grants and contract awards by 100 percent since the beginning of Raines’ tenure.

Major focus areas of her work with students included an increased emphasis on the retention of students, expansion of the university’s Honors and Emerging Leaders programs, the establishment of a guaranteed internship program for qualified students, living-learning residential and curricular-learning communities throughout campus and the establishment of the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus in Jackson.

Raines earned her doctorate in education and her master of science degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Her bachelor of science degree is from the University of Tennessee-Martin. She also completed the Management Development Program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.

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