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ETBU Announces Keynote Speaker for Fall Commencement on Dec. 20th

December 18, 2014

MARSHALL, Texas (12/18/14) - The Office of Academic Affairs at East Texas Baptist University announces that the former Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) Director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Center and director for the Advocacy Care Center and current Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Suzii Paynter will be the keynote speaker for Fall Commencement. The CBF is a Christian network comprised of people and churches that work together to inspire good in the world.  Fall Commencement will be held on Saturday, December 20, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Baker Auditorium of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center.   

Presiding will be Interim President Dr. Lawrence Ressler with 59 students receiving undergraduate degrees and 13 students receiving master's degrees for a total of 72.  Assistant Provost and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Thomas Sanders, assisted by academic deans, will present the graduating class.  

The Fred Hale School of Business will have its first ever graduates of the Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership program. The new program began with fall 2013 semester. The Schools of Christian Studies, Education and Natural and Social Sciences will also be awarding graduate degrees during commencement.   

While at the BGCT, keynote speaker Paynter directed public policy initiatives for state and federal issues and led international relief and development projects. In 2013, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty honored Paynter with the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award. Paynter's work has also been highlighted on television programs such as Moyers in America, and in print publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. In April 2014, Paynter was invited to the White House, where she discussed immigration reform with President Obama and a small group of faith leaders in the Oval Office. 

East Texas Baptist University offers graduate programs in business, counseling, religion and education, as well as 40 undergraduate degree programs. ETBU provides a Christ centered education that emphasizes the integration of faith and learning. The ETBU experience is known for "Embracing Faith, Engaging Minds, and Empowering Leaders." For more information, visit