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Cumberland University elects new board members
Jan 18, 2013 4:30 pm
Four local professionals were selected to join the Cumberland University’s Board of Trust to help carry the university into the future.
With backgrounds in fields ranging from business, law, and technology to health care and energy, the new members - Cathy Gracey, Camellia Petty, John D. Wootten Jr. and Dr. Charles G. Groat - were chosen to reflect Cumberland’s expanding vision of a 21st century education.
“Cumberland University is the oldest university in the central South, yet it is sharply focused on reshaping its programs for the 21st century," said Cumberland University President Harvill Eaton. "That means understanding the industry groups that will drive the nation’s economy and jobs for our graduates. Our new trustees represent those industries. They are leaders in energy, healthcare, public service, and technology."
Cumberland's communications director Phil Carter said the university has a large board.
"I think we're up to 28 now," Carter said. "It's a large board, which is good for what we're trying to accomplish."
The university released brief biographies of the four new board members.
Groat is president and chief executive of the Water Institute of the Gulf, which is a globally recognized expert on earth sciences, energy, resource assessment, groundwater issues, and coastal studies. Along with the decades of experience he brings from the U.S. Geological Survey, academia and his work as a scientist whose recent research has focused on energy and water resources, Groat spent many years developing an acute understanding of the needs of our coastal areas in Louisiana.
He was appointed by President Bill Clinton and retained by President George W. Bush to serve as director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Groat’s degrees in geology are from the University of Rochester, University of Massachusetts, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Petty, vice president of product and application development at Broadcast Music, Inc., has more than 15 years of experience in building the business processes and technical foundations required to meet the future needs of BMI’s songwriters, composers, publishers and licensees.
This responsibility spans all application systems and product development within Broadcast Music, Inc., inclusive of data governance, data management, data architecture, imaging technology and business intelligence.
Petty holds a bachelor of business administration from Cumberland University. She is an active member of the Nashville Technology Council, the BMI Foundation and ORACLE Customer Support Council.
Gracey, a nurse and Cumberland graduate, is an independent health and wellness professional. She not only attended Cumberland, but also served as a faculty member teaching nursing courses. Gracey also served on the advisory board for the Cumberland University School of Nursing.
Gracey is married to William Gracey, who serves as chief executive of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Wootten, a circuit judge, has served Division II of the 15th Judicial District since 1998. Wootten hears both criminal and civil cases in the 15th District. Since his election to the bench, he has also been designated by the Supreme Court to hear a variety of both criminal and civil cases in the mid-state area. Prior to his election as circuit judge, Wootten served as an assistant district attorney general for the 15th Judicial District.
He retired from the Tennessee Air National Guard in 2004. Wootten’s military career, including active duty, reserve duty and service in the Tennessee Air National Guard, spanned more than 25 years. He retired holding the rank of colonel. Wootten’s military honors include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Wootten is a dual graduate of the University of Tennessee. He received his bachelor of arts from the University of Tennessee in 1975 and his doctor of jurisprudence in 1977.
"They are all busy and successful people," Carter said of the four new board members. "They will attend their first meeting this semester and then undergo an orientation process."
He is sure each will be a credit to the university.
"The university is very excited and proud to have them on the board and we're looking forward to working with them," Carter said.
A complete list of board members can be found at cumberland.edu/about.