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SBU to hold commencement ceremonies May 12 and 14

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Nearly 650 students will graduate from Southwest Baptist University during three commencement ceremonies — one held Thursday, May 12, in Springfield and two held Saturday, May 14, in Bolivar.

Undergraduate ceremony in Springfield

Graduation ceremonies for Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences undergraduate students will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 3111 E. Battlefield Rd., Springfield, with 149 degrees being awarded in nursing, radiography and health sciences.

Speakers will be graduating students Clay Mattingly, associate of science in radiography and bachelor of science in health sciences; Ashley Tennis, associate of science in nursing; and Wongel Mengiste, bachelor of science in nursing. Michael Updegrave, bachelor of science in nursing graduate, will perform “How Great Thou Art.”

Bolivar undergraduate and graduate students 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 14. The undergraduate ceremony is outdoors on the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum, and the graduate ceremony is at John Q. Hammons Court within the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center on the Bolivar campus. In the event of rain, the undergraduate ceremony will be held in the Meyer Wellness and Sports Center.

Undergraduate ceremony in Bolivar

The Rev. Billy Russell, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Bolivar, and a 1985 SBU graduate, will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony. He has served on the ministry staff at First Baptist since November 1999, initially as associate pastor, and became senior pastor in 2006.

Richard Young Jr. will deliver the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address. For the senior music performance, Jared Pollard and Jared Dietz will perform “Keep Your Eyes Open” by Needtobreathe.

Two retiring faculty members will be recognized: Dr. Ronda Credille, professor of business administration and former chair of the Department of Business Administration, and Dr. John Wheeler, professor of education.

Award presentations will include the student Life Beautiful Awards and the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award in addition to the 220 diplomas to be awarded.

Graduate ceremony

Dr. Katherine Tackett will deliver the commencement address at the graduate student ceremony. Tackett, who completed a doctoral degree from SBU in 2014 and a specialist degree from SBU in 2008, is the assistant superintendent of schools at Carl Junction R-1 School District, where she is in charge of teaching and learning.

The ceremony will include the awarding of 274 graduate diplomas.

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