Lauren Akins, Jennifer Nettles Head Back to School

The two returned to their respective alma maters to impart words of wisdom on graduates

Like Lauren Akins, we can’t say for sure that we remember the keynote speaker from our college graduation ceremony. But we’re guessing the nursing students departing the University of Tennessee this year will never forget theirs, because it was Akins herself.

Thomas Rhett’s better half recently returned to her alma mater in Knoxville to give the keynote speech during the recent College of Nursing commencement ceremony, all while the country star and little Willa Gray sat in the stands to cheer her on.

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing back in 2012, Akins has concentrated her work on Love One International, a non-profit organization that focuses on bringing awareness to the Ugandan orphan crisis and aiding communities in preservation and sustainability.

In her speech, Akins told students, “Nursing is not just about what you do, it’s who you are. Nursing at its core is not just about taking vitals and wearing scrubs, it’s about caring for people. You can do that in a hospital, or a doctor’s office, you can do that in your neighborhood and you can do that around the world.”

That applies to all of us, doesn’t it?

Jennifer Nettles was also a distinguished guest and keynote speaker at her alma mater, traveling back to Decatur, Georgia to Agnes Scott College to share wise words and encouragement.

Nettles asked the graduating women, “What kind of woman do you want to be? 'Cause I know what kind of women I want you to be. I want you to be fearless dream warriors, I want you to be the boss ladies of your own lives. I want you to live authentically in your truth. I want you to be so in touch with your truth that nothing can pull you off your path.”

Preach, sister. And, of course, she left them with a song.

That’s exactly how Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood left the University of Georgia during their recent commencement ceremonies. The two alums traveled back to their old stomping grounds “between the hedges” to inspire the 2018 graduates, and of course just be Charles and Dave.

Looks like Athens is as much fun as we remember.

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