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Knox County Mayor Challenges King Grads to ‘Live a Life That Makes You Happy’

December 8, 2018

Knox County Mayor Glen Jacobs on Saturday challenged King University graduates to “live a life that makes you happy and fulfilled” as he shared guiding principles that have allowed him to achieve success as a professional wrestler, actor, businessman and public servant.

“You are going to fail, “Jacobs said. “But don’t feel like you’re not doing it right. It means you are stepping out of your comfort zone and that’s the only way you can achieve.”

Jabots served as guest speaker for the 2018 Fall Commencement ceremony that honored more than 450 graduates who earned undergraduate, graduate and professional studies degrees. The 10 a.m. ceremony was held at Viking Hall Civic Center, with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Craig Streetman serving as faculty marshal.

Jacobs began by thanking the campus community for his own family’s success, noting that both of his daughters earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing from King University – Knoxville. He congratulated the graduates seated before him for also choosing King, saying he is confident they will be well served by the quality educations they received.

Jacobs entered the political arena earlier this year, but first gained notoriety as a professional wrestler. He has performed for millions under his current WWE ring name, Kane, and, through that sport, earned numerous championship awards. His wrestling career also opened new doors for him, he said, allowing him to appear in numerous films including “Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery.”

But wrestling was not always his sport of choice, he said.

He tried baseball, then basketball and then settled for football before a knee injury sidelined that career. Each failure brought disappointment, he said, before he ultimately realized that his success was up to him.

“No one owes you anything,” he said, urging graduates not to feel entitled to the better things in life. Even when faced with failures, he urged them never to give up. And, finally, drawing from a song by country music singer Tim McGraw, he challenged graduates to “always be humble and kind.”

“I believe God put us on this planet for one reason – to make it a better place,” he said. “You have the tools to go out and make this world a better place.”

In addition to his elected role in Knox County, Jacobs operates Jacobs Insurance Associates in Knoxville. He also maintains an impressive record of community service with the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Halls/Powell Boys & Girls Club. He is an active supporter of Kindness Revolution, a national anti-bullying initiative, and with his wife, Crystal, founded Kane’s Crusaders, a non-profit organization dedicated to boosting the spirits of chronically ill teens throughout East Tennessee.

Before conferring the degrees, King President Alexander Whitaker IV welcomed graduates into the King Alumni Association, reminding them that King will always be an important part of their lives. He encouraged them to remain connected, to “come back often” and to give back to King, just as generations of alumni have for more than 150 years.

“They gave to you, they gave for you even though they didn’t know you,” he said. “I challenge you to make giving back to those students who will take your place a constant in your life. It will be one of the most important things you do.”


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.