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Virtual celebrations – Baptist schools hail graduates online, reschedule in-person commencements

ST. LOUIS – Let no one say the class of 2020 didn’t have a memorable graduation. It may not have featured all the usual pomp and circumstance or the wails of bagpipes, but Baptist schools are finding ways to honor their seniors even though chapels and arena remain empty.

Missouri Baptist University

For example, Missouri Baptist University normally holds its commencement at the Family Arena in St. Charles. The in-person celebration has been pushed back to Nov. 13, but the school hosted a virtual celebration of each senior April 28 on social media. It’s available to watch at facebook.com/mobap.

“We missed seeing you walk across the stage in your regalia,” MBU President Keith Ross said to graduates. “Much has been required of you, and you have certainly risen to the occasion.”

Hannibal-LaGrange University

Graduating students at Hannibal-LaGrange University also marked their accomplishments virtually, with an online celebration May 9 available at facebook.com/HLGuniversity. An in-person commencement has been rescheduled for Aug. 15.

“The future is always uncertain,” said HLGU President Anthony Allen. “No one could have anticipated that all classes would be moved online, students would return home and Zoom has brought us together virtually in ways we could never imagine. But I’m very confident that while the future is uncertain, you can face it with confidence. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in your lives as you make your way in this brave new world.”

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Southwest Baptist University

Southwest Baptist University too will host online commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m., May 16, for the more than 500 students graduating from its four campuses.

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“We are privileged to honor these graduates who have worked so hard to reach their goals,” said Lee Skinkle, provost of SBU. “They have endured the challenge placed in front of them this semester, and have handled it with grace and dignity. We are confident they will carry this forward as servant leaders in a global society.”

The commencement address will be delivered by a collection of distinguished SBU Alumni, while award presentations will include the student Life Beautiful Awards and the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award. The ceremony can be viewed at www.SBUniv.edu/academics/commencement.

Midwestern and Spurgeon College

In Kansas City, 231 students were awarded degrees and graduated into their ministry callings at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College, May 1.

“It’s hard to believe that today, our planned date for Spring 2020 Commencement, finds us with a quiet campus,” Midwestern President Jason Allen said. “No one would have fathomed this two months ago. Nonetheless, today we graduate, in absentia, another record class of 231 gospel servants.”

Virtual commencement festivities kicked off with Allen providing a charge via recorded video that was sent to all graduates even though campus was still and quiet. “In an odd way, congratulations – you’ve made history! You can tell your kids and grandkids, and everyone else, about this for years to come.”

Graduating MBTS or Spurgeon students may “walk” in the December 2020 or May 2021 commencement exercises if they desire. To view Allen’s entire charge, visit https://www.mbts.edu/sp20graduates. 



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