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Judge Encourages Graduates to Dream
On Sunday afternoon at 1:45 p.m., 58 Lane College seniors, walking two at a time, slowly proceeded along the aisle to their seats in the J.F. Lane Gymnasium on the Lane College campus to begin the Summer Commencement Convocation. Acknowledging cheers and applause from well-wishers, the graduates solemnly made their way to their reserved seats to patiently await the bestowing of their degrees in the Arts and Sciences. They entered the arena as promising students. They exited as proud Alumni!
At the beginning of the program, Lane alumnus William Graves, II, stirred the crowd with his moving rendition of Give Us This Day. Thereafter, Interim President Glenn Vaulx told the assembled crowd that Graves and Vaulx’s son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Adrian, sang together in the Lane College Choir in the early ‘90’s, and spontaneously requested that they render a song for the audience. As if on cue, Graves began to play the melody to the song How Excellent, and Adrian Vaulx took to the stage and sang her heart out. Graduates and audience members alike were moved to tears.
In an inspiring speech, Division III Circuit Court Judge Nathan Pride invoked the memories of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. He told the graduates that taking a stand on principle will yield good results. He asked graduates to dream big, live their dreams, and be free. He further admonished graduates to ask not what Lane College and their country can do for them, but to ask what they can do for Lane College and America. Finally, as President Reagan told the General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, Pride told the students to “tear down the walls” of oppression and hindrance that limits one’s fulfillment of life’s potential.
Following Pride’s speech, Natasha Alexander was recognized as the Highest Ranking Senior, with a 3.8 grade point average.
At the conclusion of the program, Lane College Board of Trustees Chair Lawrence L. Reddick, III, accompanied by present and former Trustees, presented to President Vaulx a beautiful plaque that recognized his service to the College following the death of Dr. Wesley Cornelious McClure and prior to the selection of newly selected President Logan Hampton. Roses were also presented to Vaulx’s wife, First Lady Ruby Vaulx.
Noted Jurist to Address Lane College Summer Graduates
Lane College Interim President Glenn Vaulx announced today that the Honorable Nathan B. Pride, Circuit Court Judge of District III of the 26th Judicial District of the State of Tennessee will be be featured speaker at the Lane College Summer Commencement Convocation, to be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, 2014 in the J.F. Lane Gymnasium on the Lane College campus.
Judge Pride was born in Florence, AL and moved to Tennessee at an early age. He is the product of the Jackson-Madison County school system. After graduating from Jackson-Central Merry High School, he entered Tennessee State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice magna cum laude. He was named the most outstanding student in Criminal Justice. Thereafter, he acquired his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia Law School. He graduated with honors and served as an Honor Court Justice.
Prior to being elected the first African-American Circuit Court Judge - Division III - in rural West Tennessee, he served as General Counsel for Lane College, City of Jackson tax attorney, Assistant District Attorney, and as a writer and grader for the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. He was a partner in the Donnell & Cox Law Offices in Jackson, Tennessee, and a Law Professor at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL.
His community service includes service on the boards for Guiding Hands Services for the Blind, Mission Convalescent Home, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, and Jackson Regional Hospital. He currently serves as a trustee for Freed-Hardeman University.
Judge Pride operated The WaterTower Justice Center, a free legal clinic, that was located on the campus of Lane College. The clinic provided free legal services to students of Lane College as well as residents of East Jackson. Hundreds of persons were served by the legal clinic and some cases were appealed all the way to the appellate court free of charge.
Judge Pride has been married to Dr. Linda Ewing-Pride for 36 years, and they are the proud parents of Jonathan Pride and Norie Pride. He is a member of the East Jackson Church of Christ. Judge Pride is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Jackson Lodge #72, P.H.A., F.A.M., and Zarah Temple #151 A.E.A.O.N.M.S. He is truly an asset to this community, striving to help as many people as he can.