More than 200 students graduated from Southwest Baptist University during commencement Friday, Dec. 13, at the Meyer Wellness Center on the Bolivar campus. The University holds two graduation ceremonies each year, in December and May.
In his commencement address, the Rev. Randy Johnson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, encouraged students to use what they have learned in college to help others.
“Everybody has been pouring into your life so that God can do miraculous work through you,” he told the graduates. “What are you going to do with what has been given to you? A great investment has been made. This graduation is a threshold for your future. God has each of you here for a purpose.”
Johnson is a 1977 SBU graduate and a member of the SBU Board of Trustees.
Trevor Parrish, a management and communication graduate and son of Donald and Kimberly Parrish of Blue Springs, Mo., delivered the Bob R. Derryberry Senior Address. He asked graduates to focus on the future.
“College has been about the experiences. It’s been about figuring things out. It’s been about the times we’ve laughed, we’ve learned and we’ve grown,” Parrish said. “I challenge you to continue striving not just to work, but to work with excellence. Let us not celebrate what we’ve done but celebrate what we’re about to do next.”
Nicholas Burgher, a commercial art and general music graduate and son of Timothy and Marcia Burgher of California, Mo., sang “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”
SBU President Dr. C. Pat Taylor said commencement is the most important academic event for any university.
“When our graduates receive their diplomas, we know that we have accomplished our primary objective, graduating students,” Dr. Taylor said. “Our graduates are extraordinary people, and they have worked very hard to achieve this significant milestone.”