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Cumberland University unveils statue honoring former Secretary of State Cordell Hull

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Posted at 5:06 PM, Oct 01, 2021

LEBANON, Tenn (WTVF) — Cumberland University unveiled a 7-foot tall, bronze statue of prominent alumnus Cordell Hull outside of Memorial Hall on Friday. The statue was dedicated by Former Vice President Al Gore, whose grandfather was close friends with Cordell Hull.

Students, guests, and Cumberland University alumni gathered on campus to pay respects to one of the institution's most influential graduates.

Former United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull would be 150 years old this week.

During the ceremony, speakers like Gore said Hull was a man of peace.

"His vision of peace still matters profoundly to a world that seems at time to be growing more volatile by the minute 20 and the institution that he established is absolutely central to our ability as a human civilization to address the challenges we have," said Gore.

Hull was born right here in Tennessee in Pickett County and graduated from Cumberland University in 1891 with his law degree.

Hull went on from there to become a judge, U.S representative, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

"He served with great distinction remaining our longest-serving and perhaps most consequential secretary of state," Gore said.

In this role, he was nominated by President Franklin Roosevelt and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 for bringing countries together and forming the United Nations.

On Friday, his alma mater honored his life with the statute.

"He thought broadly about his constituents, and the nation as a whole when he arrived in Congress, there were still veterans of the civil war in office or as he put it, quote 'lingering on the public stage' end quote," said Gore. "But a new generation was rising fast inspired by progressive ideas, and a conviction that American democracy was essential to the future of the world, and that meant, accepting greater responsibility on the world stage and Cordell Hull spoke for our nation in expanding democracy at home as well as abroad."

This ceremony is part of the month-long Cordell Hull Peace Forum sponsored by Middle Tennessee Electric and the Tennessee Valley Authority to honor the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, longest-serving U.S. Secretary of State, “Father of the United Nations” and one of Cumberland’s most notable alumni.