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Southwest Baptist University Confers 426 Degrees

Doctor of Physical Therapy group photo of all graduatesSouthwest Baptist University conferred 266 undergraduate degrees, and 160 graduate degrees during a three ceremonies Friday, May 3 in the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus.

President Rick Melson of SBU stated, “Commencement is the most important academic event for any university. I am incredibly proud of the hard work and commitment of our graduates, who are equipped to be Christ-centered servant leaders ready to lead in a global society."

Life Beautiful Awards

The 2024 recipients of the Life Beautiful Award are Kaila Lloyd of Cold Springs, CA, and Dorian Woodson of Farmington, MO.

Kaila Llyod recieving the SBU Life Beautiful AwardKaila came to SBU from Cold Springs, California, and received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Biology with a minor in Business. She has been very involved on campus, leading workout classes, serving as a Resident Assistant for Beasley Hall, leading Unveil, and implementing and leading The Alteration, SBU’s annual women’s conference. She served on multiple mission trips through the Center for Global Connections at SBU and led Bible study through ResLife. Additionally, Kaila attends Hill City Church Springfield and is active in The Collective and White House ministries at First Baptist Church Bolivar. Kaila engaged in biological research as an undergraduate student and has served as vice president of SBU’s chapter of the Sigma Zeta math and science honor society. She completed the Gordon & Judy Dutile Honors Program at SBU.

One of Kaila’s professors said this about her, “Kaila is truly a wonderful example of a servant of Christ. She can be found serving in many ways. From helping to lead a worship service, stepping up during a disaster, being a shoulder for youth to lean on, and bringing sunshine to everyone she encounters, she demonstrates the love of Christ. Kaila is a brilliant scientist hoping to continue serving others in physical therapy, a field where her talents will grow, and she can continue to do what she does best; allowing others to feel seen, be heard, and to share the love of Christ.”

Kaila’s parents are Mr. Barry and Mrs. Jennifer Lloyd of Cold Springs, California. 

Dorian Woodson earning the SBU Life Beautiful Award

Dorian is from Farmington, Missouri, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing with minors in Statistics & Computer Information Science.

Dorian has served in many capacities on SBU’s campus: as vice president for Student Association (where he reintroduced and coordinated Bearcat Giveback), as president of Freedom Club, and as a student worker for the marketing department. He is also a Future Business Leaders of America collegiate national champion. Dorian began his MBA degree as an undergraduate student and has maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Dorian has been active in the White House ministry at First Baptist Church Bolivar. He engaged in internships with First State Community Bank and Transformative Consulting Solutions during his time as a student. Dorian was recognized as the president of SBU’s chapter of the Delta Mu Delta business honor society and completed the Gordon & Judy Dutile Honors Program.

One of Dorian’s professors described him as, “bright, a self-starter, creative, godly, kind, respectful, and trustworthy.”

Dorian’s parents are Mr. Brian and Mrs. Linnette Woodson of Farmington, Missouri. The

Life Beautiful Award was established in 1937 by Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil. This award is given annually to an outstanding man and woman in the Southwest Baptist University spring graduating class. These individuals have demonstrated by their scholarship and character that they are living a “life beautiful.” The faculty selects the recipients whose identities remain confidential until commencement.

Dr. Scott Morrison winning Hendrex awardOrien B. Hendrex Award

Dr. Scott Morrison has been a member of SBU’s faculty for eight years, currently serving as an Associate Professor of Education.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Missouri State University, a Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Missouri State University, and a Doctor of Education in Administration and Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University.    

Prior to his time at SBU, Dr. Morrison served as a Teacher in Residence at Missouri State University, as well as an Elementary Counselor and Elementary Teacher, both at Springfield Public Schools.  

If you ask others about Dr. Morrison, they will likely tell you that he loves teaching.  He excels in his effectiveness of preparing students to serve as future teachers and missionaries in the classroom.  In addition, he is known for his Christ-like character.  

One colleague stated, “Scott has had a tremendous impact on students both in and out of the classroom.  He is never too busy to listen and is almost always found talking to students after class.  Dr. Morrison’s combination of academic rigor and personal interest in student’s lives makes him an outstanding representative of a Christian servant in every respect and his impact will live on in the lives he has touched.”    

Scott and his wife Darla attend church at The Well in Springfield where Dr. Morrison serves on the worship team.  They have two daughters, Amanda and Alexis.    

In 1969, the Board of Trustees of Southwest Baptist University established an award to be presented annually to a faculty member regarded by SBU students to be outstanding in both teaching ability and personal guidance.  The “Distinguished Teacher” award is selected by the current and the three previous years graduating classes of undergraduate students.  The Board of Trustees at Southwest Baptist University has designated this award in memory of former academic dean, Orien B. Hendrex.  

*Published: 5/12/2024