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SBU celebrates new school year at formal convocation

Two faculty members and a staff member were honored at Southwest Baptist University’s annual convocation Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Convocation marks the formal beginning of the academic year and is a time when campus gathers to focus on SBU’s mission and traditions.

“An important tradition at SBU is our commitment to stay focused on our mission, which has remained consistent down through the years… that it has always been a Christ-centered institution,” said SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D. “SBU never has wavered on its commitment to high academic standards and academic integrity. The University, from its very inception, has challenged students to become all that God has called them to be.

“If each of us will continue the tradition of living out the SBU mission statement in our lives, the 2016-2017 academic year, which is our 139th, will be a great year.”

Convocation Address

The tradition of the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award delivering the convocation address continued with Stacy Soden, the 2016 recipient. The Distinguished Teacher Award is chosen by previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member for “outstanding teaching ability and personal guidance.”

SBU.convocation.SodenSoden joined the SBU faculty in 2010 and is currently chair of the health sciences department, as well as an instructor in the radiology and health sciences programs on the Springfield campus. Prior to coming to SBU, she worked for Mercy Health System for 16 years.

In her address, Soden encouraged students to embrace and reflect on three areas of life as they begin the new academic year: the past, the present and the future.

“Honor the past. Recognize how your past experiences have shaped you into the person you are today.

“Celebrate the present. Seize each moment in life now, and make it meaningful.

“Embrace the future. For some, that unknown is cause for excitement, rather than worry.”

Soden reminded students, faculty and staff that they have a purpose at SBU – “the purpose of serving God.”

“Students, you enter college with dreams, what you hope for in the future. Faculty and staff, we have the privilege to work and guide these students to their future. We can embrace the future enthusiastically with a vibrant and energetic approach.

“Pray, and know that our God wants the best for each of us.”

Newcomer of the Year awards

The Newcomer of the Year awards began in 1995 to recognize one full-time faculty member and one non-teaching staff member who, in their first months of employment at Southwest Baptist University, demonstrate exceptional commitment to the University’s mission and make a positive impact as part of the SBU family. Faculty and staff members who have been employed full-time for no more than 18 months prior to the selection process are eligible. Committees of peers select the winners.

SBU.Convocation.WalkerFaculty Newcomer of the Year:

Dr. Debbie Walker joined the University for the 2015-2016 academic year. Walker currently serves as assistant professor of psychology and the coordinator of counseling services.

“She has not only taken to the role, but she has taken to our students. Her concern is to help the campus as a whole provide the best possible environment in which learning and young adult development can take place,” said Dr. Kevin Schriver, dean of the college of education and social sciences. “She is a valuable and vital part of that word ‘caring’ in our mission.”

Walker, a 1987 SBU graduate, and her husband Dwayne, the program director of the social work program at SBU, reside in Springfield, and are active members of South Haven Baptist Church.

Staff Newcomer of the Year:

Alyssa Glasgow started working at SBU as the graphic designer in the office of Marketing and SBU.Convocation.AGlasgowCommunications in August 2015 during her last semester of classes.

"Alyssa quickly acclimated to her role as a staff member at SBU and brings a great level of creativity and professionalism to her position,” said Charlotte Marsch, SBU director of marketing and communications. “She is a wonderful example of being a servant leader as a part of our Marketing and Communications team and through her interactions with others all across campus."

Glasgow, a December 2015 SBU graduate, worked as a graphic designer for Stephens Photography in Bolivar and has been a freelance designer and photographer for First Baptist Church of Bolivar, where she attends and volunteers in the children’s ministry and student ministry. Her father is a professor of mathematics at SBU and her sister, Melody, is a junior at SBU.



1. Stacy Soden — Stacy Soden (right), chair of the health sciences programs on the Springfield campus, delivered the convocation address during the Aug. 24 chapel. SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Ed.D., presents Soden with a plaque recognizing her selection as the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher. The winner is announced each year at graduation and then is the speaker at the next fall’s convocation.

2. Dr. Debbie Walker — SBU provost Dr. Lee Skinkle (right) presents Dr. Debbie Walker, assistant professor of psychology and the coordinator of counseling services, with the Faculty Newcomer of the Year Award.

3. Alyssa Glasgow — SBU provost Dr. Lee Skinkle (left) presents Alyssa Glasgow, graphic designer for marketing and communications, with the Staff Newcomer of the Year Award.