King University Honors More than 250 December Graduates

Dec 14, 2019 | King University

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 14, 2019 — More than 250 graduates attaining degrees at the associate, bachelor, master and doctoral levels were recognized during King University’s winter commencement ceremony today at Viking Hall.

Following longtime King tradition, graduates entered the ceremony in a bagpipe procession, led by piper Greyson Bledsoe. As part of the program, King Chaplain Brian Alderman, Ph.D., presented the invocation, and Jason Abernathy ’19, a graduate of King’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work, read scripture from Psalm 91.

Katherine Vande Brake, Ph.D., a distinguished career educator who served for nearly four decades at King, journeyed to campus from Michigan to honor and encourage graduates. In her presentation, entitled “I Know the Plans,” she expounded on the many intriguing pathways available to graduates as they grow, personally and professionally.

“God does have a plan for our lives,” said Vande Brake. “He works it out in spite of our missteps, and sometimes passionate desires.”

Vande Brake, who retired from King in 2017, was also recognized for her own accomplishments and service as the University honored her as professor emerita.

“Dr. Vande Brake’s work, from her creation of our English as a Second Language program to her careful cultivation and stewardship of our core academic program, significantly shaped the history and path of King,” said President Alexander Whitaker. “Her legacy continues to define the rigorous academic expectations we have for our students and faculty, and we are honored to name her professor emerita.”

In her 38-year career with King, Vande Brake served the University in a number of roles, most recently as the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Dean for Academic Programs. She is the author of two books, “How They Shine” and “Through the Back Door,” both of which focus on the history of the Melungeons in Appalachia.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.



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