05/09/2023 Alumni Campus Events McMurry News

Celebrating 100 Years of Education

(Abilene, Texas – May 8, 2023) – McMurry will hold its Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at Wilford Moore Stadium at 7:30 p.m. During this Centennial year, McMurry will be celebrating 228 graduates who will become new McMurry alums. Bishop James “Jimmy” Nunn, a 1979 alumnus, will be the featured speaker. In addition to conferring degrees on over 200 students, McMurry will also grant an Honorary Doctorate to former professor and alumna Dr. Pug Deavenport Parris.

Bishop Nunn was elected to the episcopacy in 2016. He is the Resident Bishop of the Oklahoma Area of The United Methodist Church, which includes the Oklahoma Conference and Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. On January 1, 2022, Bishop Nunn became the Interim Bishop for Northwest Texas, while also serving the Oklahoma Episcopal Area.

“McMurry is honored to welcome McMurry alumnus Bishop Nunn to speak to our graduating class,” University President Dr. Sandra S. Harper said. “We are so proud of what our students have accomplished this year, and we look forward to celebrating with them and their families.”

Parris retired from the profession of teaching in 2020 after 47 years — five at Abilene High School as a teacher and coach and 42 years as Professor of Kinesiology at McMurry University. A 1969 graduate of Stanton High School, she began her higher education with a Bachelor of Science from McMurry. She earned her Master of Education from Abilene Christian University and Doctor of Education from Texas A&M University. She was named a Distinguished Alumni of McMurry in 2009 and listed as a member of the McMurry 100 which recognizes significant people in the university’s history. On Saturday, April 30, McMurry honored Parris by naming the new “iris” garden in her honor – Pug Deavenport Parris Centennial Garden.

“In our Centennial year, we have focused on the individuals who have made McMurry what it is today,” Harper said. “Pug is definitely one of those people. As a student, a professor, and an alum, she has always been a model of servant leadership and excellence.”

University Chaplain Rev. Marty CashBurless, who is an alumna, will retire June 20. She will preside over her final baccalaureate on Friday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Radford Auditorium. Featured speaker will be alumnus Chaplain Jeff S. Matsler, Regional Director of Ethics for CHRISTUS Healthcare, Santa Rosa in San Antonio, Texas. Recently retired from the US Army, Matsler was most recently the US Army’s Bioethicist and an Instructor of Medical Ethics at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.


Nicholas Ocheltree, Director of Integrated Communications

Robin Daniels, Vice President of Marketing and Communications