SBU to hold commencement ceremonies May 16 and 18

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Nearly 615 students will graduate from Southwest Baptist University during three commencement ceremonies — one on Thursday, May 16, and two on Saturday, May 18, in Bolivar.

Graduation ceremonies for Springfield campus undergraduate students will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, on the John Q. Hammons Court within the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus, with 115 degrees being awarded in nursing, radiography and health sciences.

Amy Ashley, who will graduate with an associate of science in nursing degree, will be the student speaker for the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences ceremony. Marissa Young, associate of science in nursing graduate, will perform “He Knows My Name,” by Annie McRaes.

Undergraduate students from the other five academic colleges will be honored at two separate ceremonies, with the undergraduate commencement taking place at 10 a.m., followed at 3 p.m. by the graduate ceremony, both on Saturday, May 18. Both ceremonies will be held on the John Q. Hammons Court within the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus.

Dr. Gary Longenecker, retired minister and founder and director of Kingdom Sports Products, will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony. Since retiring from full-time ministry at First Baptist Church of Lebanon, Mo., Longenecker has been involved in a variety of ministries. He served as the associate director of church mobilization for global focus and as an associate director of partnerships with the Missouri Baptist Convention. During the last 15 years, Kingdom Sports Products has distributed more than 100,000 soccer balls in more than 125 countries. Thousands of people have received Jesus Christ as Savior after hearing the Gospel message through the “Ball of Many Colors.”

Mikayla Throne, bachelor of science in marketing graduate, will deliver the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address, and Dylan Pich, bachelor of science in music education graduate, will perform his arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” on saxophone.                                               

Award presentations will include the student Life Beautiful Awards and the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award in addition to the 229 diplomas to be awarded.

Elyse Nimmo, MSN, RN-Mercy Clinical Educator II, will deliver the commencement address at the graduate student ceremony. Nimmo has been a registered nurse for 12 years, with her area of expertise being in pediatrics and pediatric intensive care nursing. She is a three-time graduate of SBU, having earned her associate of science in nursing in 2006, bachelor of science in nursing in 2008 and master of science in nursing education in 2018. Nimmo has served as a clinical educator to pediatric nurses since 2014 and currently is the Pediatric Intensive Care Clinical Educator at Mercy Kids Hospital in Springfield, Mo.

The ceremony will include the awarding of 269 graduate diplomas.

For anyone unable to attend commencement, each ceremony will be broadcast on Livestream. Links are available at

For more information about the Bolivar commencements, please contact the Provost’s Office at (417) 328-1601. For more information about the Mercy college commencement, please call (417) 820-2069.

*Published: 5-9-19