Lincoln Memorial University


Ambassador George Staples to Deliver LMU Graduation Address

Harrogate, Tennessee, December 4, 2017—Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will hold its Winter Commencement Exercises on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Tex Turner Arena on the main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. Former U.S. Ambassador George Staples will deliver the graduation address. 

Over 400 students will participate in the ceremony as the University confers 37 associate, 129 baccalaureate, 141 masters, 13 educational specialist and 13 doctoral degrees. Additionally, over 100 graduates of the Carter and Moyers School of Education who completed their masters of education or educational specialist degrees will also participate. 

Staples served as the U.S. ambassador to several African nations during his 25-year Foreign Service career. He served as ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, he was deputy chief of mission in Bahrain and Zimbabwe.

Most recently, Staples served as a political advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) for NATO in Belgium. His career also included a tenure as senior watch officer in the State Department’s Operation Center and senior Turkey desk officer in the Bureau of European Affairs during the first Gulf War. Staples also has served as a national security fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Prior to joining the State Department, Staples served as a military officer in the U.S. Air Force, and a manager in private industry. Today, he is a commissioner on the Kentucky Human Rights Commission and teaches a course in African development challenges at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in Lexington, Kentucky. Staples holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from Central Michigan. He and his wife, Jo Ann, reside in Pineville, Kentucky. Jo Ann Staples has worked on a worldwide scale with international women’s groups, the Peace Corps and international development organizations in Africa.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at



423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752