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2022 Winter Commencement

2022 Winter Commencement

Tennessee Wesleyan University has announced plans for the University’s Winter 2022 Commencement exercises.  The service will award more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Commencement for the Class of 2022 will take place at the University’s Townsend Hall Auditorium on Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m. Vanessa Hardaway, alumna, author, and kindergarten teacher, is this year’s Commencement speaker. Prior to the Commencement exercises, there will be a reception for all seniors, their guests, faculty, and staff beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Johnson Event Center in the Colloms Campus Center.

Vanessa Hardaway 

Vanessa Hardaway has been in the field of childhood education and development for many years.  She served as a YMCA childcare counselor and a Juvenile Probation Officer before becoming an elementary school teacher.  Currently, Ms. Hardaway teaches fourth grade at Cumberland County (North Carolina) Schools. She currently resides in Fayetteville, North Carolina where she met her fiancée, Mr. Antonio Day.

Hardaway recently published a book entitled The Kinder Chronicles: Big Lessons from Tiny Plastic Chairs. This book is based on experiences from her years of working with elementary school age students.

Hardaway was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; however, she refers to Athens as “home.” She graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan University (then College) in 2000 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She then went on to earn her Master of Science in Teaching Education from Lee University in 2003. Ms. Hardaway has also been involved since 2006 in a joint venture with a colleague, Dr. Renee Albert, as staff developers and motivational speakers for educators.

The Hardaway family has long had close ties to Tennessee Wesleyan University.  She is the daughter of The Rev. Dr. Vant (’71) and Mrs. Janice Hardaway.  The Rev. Dr. Hardaway is a retired educator and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Tennessee Wesleyan University.  Mrs. Janice Hardaway serves on the Business Advisory Council of Tennessee Wesleyan.  Vanessa’s aunt, Ms. Gatha Hardaway Smith, was the first in her family to be educated at Tennessee Wesleyan University and was also the first African American to graduate from Tennessee Wesleyan.  There have been 9 members of the Hardaway family who have graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan.

Watch below or stream the service live on the TWU YouTube channel at this link: