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McMurry University to hold Spring 2013 Commencement on May 11


ABILENE, Texas –Abilene businessman and city councilman Robert Briley will be the featured speaker at McMurry University’s 2013 Spring Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11, in the Hunt Physical Education Center. McMurry will confer degrees on 175 seniors at the event.

Baccalaureate service for the graduates will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Dr. Brady Bryce, assistant professor of ministry and Director of Contextual Education for the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, will be the baccalaureate preacher.

Mr. Briley is the owner of Briley Investments, Inc., which oversees seven Aaron’s rental stores in Abilene (2), Brownfield, Brownwood, Lubbock (2) and Stamford. He has been a franchise owner of the company for 32 years. Mr. Briley also is CEO of Briley Holdings, Inc. and President of Rent Texas Properties, LLC.

In addition, Mr. Briley has represented Abilene as a city councilman since 2008.

He has received numerous business awards, including 2011 Aaron’s Franchise Store of the Year, 2010 Aaron’s Franchisee of the Year, 2010 Aaron’s Franchise Store of the Year, 2008 Aaron’s Franchisee of the Year, 2008 Aaron’s Franchise Store of the Year, 2005 National Association (APRO) Rental Dealer of the Year, and 1983 Curtis Mathes Franchisee of the Year.

Mr. Briley is past president of the National Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) – Past and past chairman of the board of the Texas Association of Rental Agencies (TARA).

He attended Fair Park & Jane Long Elementary, Mann Junior High School and graduated from Abilene High School in 1970. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Texas Tech University in 1974.

Mr. Briley has served the Abilene community as Fundraising Chairman of the United Way of Abilene, a member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church, a board member of St. John’s Episcopal School, and through volunteer work with both senior citizens and as a youth baseball and basketball coach.

Briley and his wife Lou, have been married for 37 years and have two sons, Zach, 35, and Parker, 32, both Wylie High School graduates, and a grandson, John Preston Briley, 12.

Dr. Bryce is Director of Ministry Events at Abilene Christian University and teaches in the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry (ministry, evangelism and spiritual formation). Bryce grew up as a preacher’s kid. He spent 14 years in various full-time ministry positions, including twelve years as a preaching minister in Texas. Most recently he served for eight years at the Singing Oaks Church in Denton, TX. Dr. Bryce did his undergraduate (B.A. Preaching & Biblical Studies) and graduate work (M.Div. and M.S. in Congregational Leadership & Spiritual formation) at ACU. He received his Doctorate in Ministry with emphasis in Spiritual Formation from Fuller Theological Seminary (2008). He recently authored Echoing the Story: Living the Art of Listening (published in 2010 by Wipf & Stock). Dr. Bryce is married (1993) to Donna, who is a mother and physical therapist. Brady and Donna enjoy playing and cycling with their two children Nathan (2001) and Lizzie (2005).