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TBR representative chosen to speak at fall commencement ceremony

By Will Housley
On December 1, 2011

  • Copeland

Approximately 700 seniors will graduate from Tech on Saturday Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center.

Only one commencement ceremony will take place this semester instead of the two ceremonies last semester. According to Debbie Combs, special projects coordinator, Tech's spring commencements are typically larger than fall commencements.

"I think last December we had 750 [graduates]," said Combs. "So, it's roughly the same size.

"We won't know exactly how many graduates [will graduate] until the day of graduation or even the day after because of finals."

Graduating seniors usually bring an average of eight guests to commencement. The Hooper Eblen Center can house 768 graduates seated on the floor and 9,692 guests in the stands and skybox, per fire marshal guidelines.

This semester's speaker is Dr. John "Steve" Copeland. Copeland is a native of the Alpine community of Overton County. He received a bachelor's degree from Tech and graduated from Auburn University with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. He established his practice in 1970 and has continued to practice veterinary medicine and surgery in Cookeville.

Copeland was appointed by Lamar Alexander to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners; by the Cookeville City Council to the Board of Trustees of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center; he is a member of the Advisory Board of Nashville State Community College, Cookeville Campus; and he is a director of the First National Bank of Tennessee. He served three years as chairman of the State of Tennessee Department of Labor Work Force Development Board. Copeland was elected to three terms on the Cookeville City Council and served one term as Vice Mayor.

Copeland was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents in August 2009, by Phil Bredesen to represent the sixth congressional district.

Copeland is married to Carol Sue Franklin Copeland and they reside in Cookeville. They have two sons and seven grandchildren.

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Tenessee Tech's pre-medicine program prepares undergraduate students for medical schools across the country, where TTU students become leading Chicago ophthalmologists, LASIK Nashville doctors and so many other top medical professionals.


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