Convocation 2020: Watch the video!

“The Unintended Refresh” is theme for 2020 Convocation; ceremony to be held virtually

Aug. 17, 2020

“The Unintended Refresh” is the title of the address that Maryville College President Dr. Bryan Coker will deliver to new and returning students, faculty and staff during the College’s 2020 Convocation ceremony, which is scheduled for Thurs., Aug. 20 at 11:15 a.m.

For the first time in the history of the College, the ceremony will be entirely virtual and streamed on the Maryville College website,, and official social media channels (Facebook and YouTube).

During his first Convocation as president of Maryville College, Coker will use Psalm 46 (New Revised Standard Version) to illustrate his chosen topic.

The ceremony marks the opening of the 2020-21 academic year. Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 19.

Several take part in the ceremony

Dr. Nikki Hilton, associate professor of psychology, will be the macebearer, and Dr. Jenifer Greene, professor of management and chair of the faculty, will welcome attendees to the ceremony. Andrew Kerr will lead the academic procession as piper.

Eleanor Forester ’21, an Isaac Anderson Fellow, will offer the prayer of invocation. The College’s Statement of Purpose will be read by Haley Davis ’22, president of the Student Government Association.

The scripture reading will be read by Benjamin Kamdem-Talom ’20, a Bonner Scholar. The Rev. Dr. Anne D. McKee, campus minister, will offer prayers for the College.

Dr. Dan Klingensmith, vice president and dean of the College, will give the declaration of the academic year and, following the singing of the Alma Mater, McKee will conclude with the benediction. 

Distinguished Service Award presented

A new addition to the Convocation ceremony this year is the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to an alumnus or alumna of Maryville College who has rendered unusual service in any capacity on behalf of the College. 

The award typically goes to an individual, but this year’s award will be presented to the five members of the Blount County Alumni Chapter’s Emeritus Board: Alvin Baker ’72Gail Bradley Hafner ’60Elizabeth Walton Blackburn ’58Judy Pike Woods ’71 and Robert Kennedy ’71.

Read more about these five alumni by visiting

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”