BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University graduated 166 students during commencement ceremonies on Friday, Nov. 20 in both the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center and Pike Auditorium in Mabee Chapel on the Bolivar campus.
Five ceremonies were held beginning with the May 2020 graduates who registered the opportunity to participate in an in-person ceremony. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring commencement was a virtual ceremony in order to follow county and state health guidelines.
The remaining ceremonies on Friday included the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Professional Programs, the College of Health Professions and the College of Health Professions/Associate of Nursing.
“Over the past 8½ months, we’ve learned a great deal about our global culture, witnessed the fragility of societal systems and been acutely reminded of our dependence upon the Lord for everything,” SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner said. “During these trying times, you have continually affirmed what we already knew – our Bearcats are extraordinary people.
“Graduates, you have worked diligently to achieve this significant milestone and we are proud. We aim to educate students equipped to be salt and the light, preparing you with a depth of academic and professional content for your respective calling and careers, empowering you to fulfill the imperative of the Great Commission with passion and compassion.”
Dr. Kevin Schriver ’83, dean of the Geneva Casebolt College of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychology, delivered the commencement address at the May 2020, Arts and Sciences, and Professional Programs ceremonies.
Schriver shared three words with the graduates – words that can lead to a successful and satisfying life.
• Come: “Your whole path to success has started by coming here; choosing SBU,” Schriver
• Take: “Now you can take what you’ve learned here along your path to a successful life.”
• Learn: “You hopefully came here to learn. And in doing that, you will go out and show yourself to be a prepared professional, or a bright graduate student, because that’s what we want to send out from SBU.”
The inspiration behind these words for Schriver came from the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30: ‘Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
“All three of those words are in the teachings of Jesus himself,” Schriver said. “As fundamental as it was for you to come here, take classes here and learn from some of the best professors on the planet, it is imperative that you follow these words from Jesus, those that are found in the Word of God, to have a successful and satisfying life. Jesus is telling us he's got the formula: Come, plus Take, plus Learn, equals Rest.”
Dea Geujen, chief nursing officer of Mercy Springfield since 2017 and a nurse for 28 years, spoke to the Health Professions and Associate of Nursing graduates, challenging them to use their passion, their adaptability and to have an entrepreneurial spirit.
“I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do from a very young age,” Geujen said. “I had a passion for serving others. Each of our graduates has a passion; they own their passion. And the challenge today is for them to live out that passion in each of their daily lives.
“Healthcare is rapidly changing. We’ve all heard about COVID-19. We can’t sit on the sidelines and just come to work. We must get ahead of the changes and have a strategy before the change arrives.”
Geujen also encouraged the graduates to “embrace the challenges, get ahead of the change or change the game.”
“You will have to rigorously apply your critical-thinking skills that you have learned from your education, and the emotional competencies that you learned right here at Southwest Baptist University,” Geujen said. “Be part of the strategy, not just the solution. Find your purpose and take a share in shaping the world.”
PHOTOS: 1. Members of SBU's Class of 2020 prepare to receive their degrees from the Geneva Casebolt College of Arts and Sciences. 2. Dr. Kevin Schriver '83, dean of the Geneva Casebolt College of Arts and Sciences, delivers the commencement address. 3. Members of the College of Professional Programs enter for their commencement ceremony. 4. Dea Geujen, chief nursing officer of Mercy Springfield, delivers the commencement address to the College of Health Professions.