Tennant to speak at Alderson Broaddus graduation

PHILIPPI – Alderson Broaddus University is pleased to announce that West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant will address 126 undergraduates and 28 master degree students during Commencement at 1 p.m. May 10 in Rex Pyles Arena in the Memorial Coliseum.

The traditional Baccalaureate Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. May 9 in Wilcox Chapel. This year, ABU has moved Baccalaureate to Friday night to create a more intimate ceremony for its graduates and their families. The Dr. Rev. Carl Gittings ’64 will give the Baccalaureate Address entitled “Steps to a Rewarding Life.”

On May 10, Tennant, West Virginia’s 29th secretary of state, who is no stranger to ABU, will deliver this year’s commencement address. Throughout her administration, she has been a leader in promoting open and engaging government and business friendly initiatives.

Tennant has streamlined the Secretary of State’s office to make it more efficient and cost-effective while improving services for voters, candidates, business owners, and citizens who depend on the office for important information about charities and administrative law.

On June 27, ABU officials joined Tennant at the Secretary of State’s office in Charleston to officially make AB a university. At that time, she commented on how becoming a university would raise the profile of AB and attract even more bright and promising students and faculty.

“It can only serve to strengthen the local economy, and in the end, all of the people in the region will win,” she said.

Tennant believes Alderson Broaddus University serves as a model for the state.

“Your vision, your forward thinking, your looking beyond the moment, your determination in doing something bold will be the example that we should follow,” she said. “The future of our state depends greatly on educating and retaining our young people. As the Alderson Broaddus tagline says, ‘You can do that here,’ young people who don’t want to go far away to school don’t have to. Renowned faculty can come and stay at Alderson Broaddus.”

Under Tennant’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office has met unprecedented challenges and promoted bold initiatives. Most recently, Tennant spearheaded legislation to allow for online voter registration in West Virginia. In 2013, thanks to years of cost saving and efficiency programs, Tennant was able to return $3 million of taxpayer money to general revenue.

Tennant’s vision also includes pilot projects that improved voter turnout and decreased costs, secure community voting locations to make it more convenient to cast a ballot, online annual report filings that save business owners time and money, and a transparent approach to state government. One innovative effort Tennant has taken in transparency is live webcasting and social media so citizens can have an unfiltered look at what actions her office is taking.

West Virginia has also emerged as a leader on the national stage when it comes to making it easier for deployed military to vote using a safe and secure internet connection. Secretary Tennant also has more investigations and convictions for election law violations than any other secretary in West Virginia’s


Along with her duties as Secretary of State, Tennant was the first West Virginian chosen for the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship program. In 2011, the Secretary of State’s Office hosted the National Association of Secretaries of State Summer Conference for the first time ever in West Virginia. In 2012, Secretary Tennant was elected to another four-year term. She remains focused on conserving tax payer dollars and providing government transparency.

Tennant currently resides in Charleston with her husband, State Senator Erik Wells, and her daughter, Delaney.

Tennant will be presented with an honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, by Alderson Broaddus University President Dr. Richard Creehan. Also receiving honorary doctorates are Rev. Ronald James (Doctor of Divinity) and Saundra Hoaxie (Doctor of Education).

Commencement will be streamed online with full audio and video. For those relatives and friends who cannot make it to campus, the entire ceremony can be viewed online. Information regarding the weekend’s activities will be posted as it becomes available at: www.ab.edu/graduation.