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Ninety-two undergraduate students graduated from Southwest Baptist University during commencement Friday, Dec. 18, at the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus. The University holds graduation twice a year, in December and May.
In her commencement address, Dr. Patricia N. Long, an SBU alumna, used themes from the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” to encourage graduates and remind them of how many lives they touch. She also challenged them to live with integrity, cherish their relationships and give back to others.
Long also highlighted Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, in which Solomon says that happiness,
living well, doing good and finding satisfaction in one’s work are gifts from God
and part of His design.
“I hope that your gift from God is to be people of integrity, to be happy, to enjoy your relationships, to love your work and to give back,” Long said. “May each of you have a wonderful life.”
Long retired in July 2014 after eight years as the first female president of Baker University. Previously she served as vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management and deputy chancellor of communications and marketing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as dean of student services at Johnson County Community College. She earned the SBU Life Service Award in 2004.
Allison Sterling, a theatre graduate from Topeka, Kan., and the daughter of Duane and Valerie Ludolph, presented the senior music performance. Sterling performed “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” arranged by Burton Isaac, with accompaniment by Dr. Robert Carney, associate professor of music.
SBU President Dr. C. Pat Taylor said commencement is the single most important academic event for any university and an important occasion in the lives of graduates and their families.
“When our graduates receive their diplomas, we know that we have accomplished our primary objective—that primary objective is graduating these students,” Taylor. “Our graduates are extraordinary people and they have worked very hard to achieve this significant milestone.”
[top left] SBU President Dr. C. Pat Taylor addresses students during commencement Friday, Dec. 18.
[middle right] Dr. Patricia N. Long, former president of Baker University, was the commencement speaker. She encouraged graduates to live with integrity, appreciate their relationships and give generously to others.
[middle left] Theatre graduate Allison Sterling performs “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” as the senior musician.
[bottom right] Patty Brandt, a social science education graduate from Bolivar, Mo., receives her diploma.