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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Motlow College Faculty, Staff, Wear Graduation Robes to Remind Students that Graduation is the Goal

January 2, 2013

When students showed up for final exams at the Motlow College Smyrna Center recently, they were surprised to find faculty and staff members dressed in graduation robes. The students soon learned they were guests at Motlow's first Graduation Celebration, and that those in robes were their hosts.

Nathan Sweeton, an assistant professor of English at the college, told the story in the following email message sent campus wide:

Retaining students is crucial to our success as an institution, we are always thinking of new ways to keep students engaged in their own academic success. Evidence shows that students will perform better if they are inspired to change and grow. Indeed, we all know that the better a student performs; the more likely he or she is to stay in school.

Keeping this in mind, Smyrna staff and faculty recently wore their academic regalia to class in an attempt to inspire our students. The last day of classes for the fall semester was chosen for this event to remind students going into finals why they are here and what we hope they will achieve.

Signs stating "Graduation is our Goal!" were posted around the building and even distributed by some of the staff. As faculty attended classes wearing their robes, they each explained the significance of academic regalia and how they hope to see their own students wearing such robes one day.

"I was so touched by the faculty taking the time out to encourage us to graduate," said one honors student who plans to complete an associate's degree with Motlow in the spring. "I've never been at a school that worked so hard to keep students interested."

When a group of gathered students was told why the faculty and staff were wearing robes for the day, each student in the group had a similar reaction. "I'm so inspired," said one student. Another said, "I want some of those [robes]." "Graduating would be so nice," admitted a third, "but I'm not sure I can make it." At this final pronouncement, it was amazing to behold the amount of support and encouragement that came from fellow students and faculty.

"Wow," said the student who had confessed her uncertainty, "Now I feel like I have to [graduate]. Otherwise, I'll be letting everyone down."

These were just a few examples of how students were encouraged and inspired by last week's event. Because it was so fun and so successful -- both for the students and for the faculty and staff -- the Smyrna Center is already planning another Graduation Celebration for the last day of spring classes.

Visit the college website for additional information about Motlow.