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FHU recognizes retirees for their years of service to the university 

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From left, Dr. David Powell, Clarence McNeal, Dr. Tom DeBerry and Dr. Gary McKnight are all honored for their years of service to FHU on the occasion of their retirements (not pictured: Mrs. Karen Hobbs).

Freed-Hardeman University recently celebrated five longstanding members of its faculty and staff in recognition of their upcoming retirements. Dr. Tom DeBerry, Mrs. Karen Hobbs, Dr. Gary McKnight, Mr. Clarence McNeal and Dr. David Powell, together representing a combined 129 years of service to the university, were honored during a special chapel presentation and reception Wednesday, April 10.
Dr. C.J. Vires, FHU provost and vice president of academics, remarked on the accomplishments of the honorees during his address to the student body. “Through their service, these individuals have brought encouragement, enlightenment and opportunity to many of you and to the students who were here before you,” Vires said. “These individuals are excellent ambassadors for our university, and today we want to recognize them for their years of sacrifice and devotion to her.”
After a brief career with Freed-Hardeman in the 1980s, DeBerry returned to FHU as a professor in the College of Business in 2006. For the next eight years, he served as the director of graduate studies in business. Most recently he helped develop the M.S. in accounting and fraud examination program and served as its program coordinator. Over the years, DeBerry worked hard to prepare FHU students for careers in accounting, especially in the burgeoning field of forensics accounting. He also published numerous articles in professional and peer reviewed journals and represented the department in numerous conferences. DeBerry retires as professor emeritus in accounting following 19 years of service. 
Hobbs has been a part of the library team since 1993, working with processing, interlibrary loans and as a copy cataloger. She served tirelessly behind the scenes but was well known by the faculty and students she worked with directly. Hobbs may best be remembered for the many hard-to-find books and journal articles she was able to track down and bring to campus from other libraries. She worked closely with countless professors working on their dissertations, graduate and honors students working on theses and faculty members writing for publications or conferences. Hobbs retires from the university after 30 years of service to the FHU community. 
McKnight began his tenure at the university in 1990 as an admission representative and now retires as an associate professor of music. During his tenure, he served as director of the Sonshine Singers, the University Chorale and numerous homecoming musicals. McKnight’s work has upheld the longstanding legacy of FHU’s choral excellence. His impact on the program and the numerous students he mentored will be enduring. Under his guidance the University Chorale flourished, showcasing exceptional talent and professionalism in every performance. McKnight retires as professor emeritus in music after 34 years of service. 
McNeal is known for his deep desire to serve the students and the Freed-Hardeman University community. He takes pride in his work, and over the years he has worked and supported many areas within dining services. McNeal found his niche working at the grill where he felt immersed in the hustle and bustle of student life. Comments from students and graduates fondly refer to his famous cry of “Quesadilla!” Many people recognize McNeal as the man who rides his bike everywhere – in the rain, snow, cold or in the summer’s scorching heat. He is known for his dependability, punctuality and for always giving his all. McNeal retires from the Gano dining team after 16 years of service to FHU. 
Powell is said to have brought “youthful enthusiasm” to the classroom for three decades. Students are drawn by his matchless kindness and dedicated passion to communicate scripture. In addition to his teaching, Powell served as the assistant dean of the College of Biblical Studies, director of Horizons Leadership Camp and as a member of the annual Bible Lectureship committee. He remains one of the most prominent preachers in the fellowship and routinely speaks at churches nationwide. Powell’s obvious love for students and colleagues is exceeded only by his love for his family. Powell retires as professor emeritus of Bible after 30 years of service. 
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. More information is available at fhu.edu.

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