SBU to confer degrees at Dec. 10 commencement ceremonies

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University is set to confer degrees upon more than 200 graduates during the 2021 winter commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 10 in the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus. 

The bachelor and graduate degree ceremony is at 3 p.m., and the associate degree commencement is at 6 p.m.

Mariah Barber, a bachelor of science in speech communication and theatre education graduate, will deliver the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address, while Hannah Laws, a computer science and mathematics major and music student, and Hannah Dixon, a bachelor of science in general music graduate, will present the senior music at Friday’s opening ceremony. 

Dr. Rick Melson, president of SBU, will deliver the commencement address at both ceremonies.

Dr. Melson, who has served SBU as president and professor of leadership since Sept. 7, came to SBU from Cedarville (Ohio) University, where he served as vice president for advancement and associate professor of business administration since 2016 in addition to serving on the President’s Cabinet. From 2012-2016, Dr. Melson served as vice president for advancement and external relations at Houghton College. He also has served in senior leadership positions in business, healthcare, higher education and ministry.

Dr. Melson and his wife, Tammy, have been married for 33 years and have three children. Son and daughter-in-law, Jon and Marisa, live and work in Los Angeles; daughter, Hannah, is a nurse at Dayton (Ohio) Children’s Hospital; and son, Matthew, is a high school student.

For more information about the commencement ceremonies, please visit, which includes links to the livestream of the commencement ceremonies, or email the Office of the Provost at 

*Published: 12-3-2021