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ETBU Holds Spring Commencement, 126 Receive Degrees

May 4, 2015

MARSHALL, Texas  (5/04/15) -  East Texas Baptist University held Spring Commencement in two sessions on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Baker Auditorium of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center.  ETBU Interim President Dr. Lawrence Ressler presided over the ceremony. 

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony included graduates of the Fred M. Hale School of Business, School of Christian Studies, School of Humanities, and the Frank S. Groner Endowed Memorial School of Professional Studies (Nursing).  The 1:30 p.m. ceremony included graduates of the School of Education, School of Fine Arts, and School of Natural and Social Sciences. A total of 126 received degrees, 111 bachelor's degrees and 15 master's degrees.   

ETBU President-Elect Dr. J. Blair Blackburn addressed the audience in both ceremonies being introduced by Hal Cornish, chair of the Board of Trustees. 

Dr. Blackburn encouraged the graduates by saying, "Students, soon to be graduates of East Texas Baptist University, congratulations to you on the completion of your educational journey. The earning of your degree is a remarkable achievement but the journey of lifelong learning and discovery does not end with the awarding of your earned degrees. Today, you will commence from here to passionately pursue the vocational calling, God has on the rest of your life." 

Summa Cum Laude graduate Brittney Garner received the Presidential Award from Dr. Ressler. The Lumberton native graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with honors and Mathematics. Her Honors Project was titled Community Plant Analysis: 10-Years of Succession.  The President's Award is given to a graduating senior judged by the faculty to be the best all-around student enrolled in the University. The award includes scholastic ability and development, the degree of involvement in activities which reflect the ideals of the institution, character, integrity, and general attitude.  

Three faculty members were presented Professor with Distinction honors for the 2014-2015 academic year.  The three honored were Dr. Stan Coppinger, professor of English; Dr. Bill Mills, professor of Computer Science; and Dr. Donna Dooley, professor of Teacher Education and Dean of the School of Education. Dr. Dooley is retiring after serving 17 years at ETBU.   

The founder and president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative Dr. Randel Everett delivered the charge to the graduates in both ceremonies. Dr. Everett has spent four decades pastoring churches, most recently as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Midland. He is the former Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

The longtime pastor shared about how religious persecution around the world is epidemic and asked them to be involved in helping those crying out for help. The ministry of the 21st Century Wilberforce follows William Wilberforce's 19th century model of theologically-rooted activism to stand with the persecuted and actively seek restoration of human dignity.     

Dr. Everett asked the graduates to "first, become informed and know the truth of what is happening around the world" concerning the persecuted church. Second, that we will become "intercessors in prayer; knowing the stories and knowing the names; praying for these brothers and sisters in Christ, by name" who are undergoing persecution.  He encouraged the graduates to start intercessory prayer groups to pray for the persecuted church of the world. 

He finished by saying, "I pray that we will be advocates in our own country and around the world for religious freedom for everyone." 

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 information, visit www.etbu.edu. 

The 2015 graduates of ETBU as listed in the Commencement program: 

FRED M. HALE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
Dr. Scott Ray, Dean
Taylor D'nay Brent, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies
Jon D. Briner, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Cassie Nicole Canup, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Kayla Michele Cradit, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Daniel Martyn Curl, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Shianne E. Edmunds, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Kayla Renee Garcia, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Johnny Charles Garrett, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
James Joseph Hadnot, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Sharolyn Donee Haynes, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration and Psychology 
Wanling He, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies 
Steven B. Herron, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Kayla Michelle, Horn cum laude Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Leslie Diane Hunt, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies 
Gavin U. Ibeh, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Samantha Dann Jackson cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Rashieed O. Jeffery, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Marie Antoinette Johnson ,Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Rachel Marie Joplin, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Mikkel Shane Keasler, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Dustin S. Krider cum laude,  Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Levi Clark Malone, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Ryan Michael Matthews cum laude, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Jacob Allen McClain cum laude, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Cory Wade McNeil, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Natalie Pippin, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Brandon Jay Pyle, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies 
Jessica Kainee Shans, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Melanie Renee Watkins-Spivey, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
William Lee Stevenson, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Natalie Diane Torres, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Justin Julian Velasquez, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Delonia Ray Williams, Bachelor of Science, University Studies 
Audrey Ann Winders summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 
Ying Xie magna cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration 

SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN STUDIES 
Dr. John Harris, Dean 
Jorge Luis Arias cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 
Zachary David Littleton, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 
Michael Tyler Martin, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 
Brianna Laine Monroe magna cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 
Ashley Dawn Pollard, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 
Alena Jo Vaughn magna cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Religion 

SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES 
Dr. Jerry Summers, Dean
Dana Riley Burns cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, English 
Amanda Lynn Gill, Bachelor of Arts, Speech Communication 
Billy Charles Hashaway, III,  Bachelor of Science, Political Science
Randall W. Hilgendorf cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, English
Cody Freelon Pruitt, Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication
Max Earl Turner, Bachelor of Arts, History
Daniel Scott Vaughan, Bachelor of Arts, English (with Honors)
Honors Project: An Examination of the Four Loves in Lewis's Till We Have Faces 

FRANK S. GRONER ENDOWED MEMORIAL SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES 
Dr. Rebekah Grigsby, Dean 
Meagan Jean Bartlett, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Pamela Rene Evans, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Lauren Rachel Fedor cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Marisa Nicole Fox cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Macy Freeman cum laude,  Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Paigen N. Gilford, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Ashley Nicole Lindsey, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Joseph Alton McRee, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Maria Beatriz Quintero magna cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Spanish
Jordan Lee Rosenberger, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Chandler Michelle Russell, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Nicole Ely Salom cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Kayla Ann Taylor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Ashley Leah Makana Marie Tyau-Miller, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Xiomara Anique Janae Wilson , Bachelor of Science in Nursing

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION 
Dr. Donna Dooley, Dean
Dr. Joseph D. Brown, Associate Dean
Peru Clarence Greer III, Master of Education, Teacher Certification
Madison Lee Kauffman, Master of Education, Sports and Exercise Leadership
Cassandra Leigh Key, Master of Education, Teacher Certification
Jimmy Brent Mills, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Shelby Lynn Parker, Master of Education, Sports and Exercise Leadership
Evan Louis Simpson, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Xiaomei Rosen Zeng, Master of Education ,Curriculum and Instruction 
Breanna Nicole Ainsworth summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Benjamin Beltran, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Spencer D. Borens, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary English and History
Tiffannee Kailynne Byrd, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Kyle N. Carroll, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary History
Sara Beth Clements cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Deziree T. Cobbs, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Andreanna Dotie, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Holly Fountain ,Bachelor of Science in Education ,Elementary Education
Hannah Gray cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Education ,Elementary Education
Whitney Shalene Justice cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary English and History
Kirby Caleb Moore, Bachelor of Science in Education Secondary, History and Speech Communication
Melanie Marie Moyer, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Shelby N. Phillips, summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Jon-David Richardson, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Janet Rodriguez,cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Education ,Secondary Life Science
Amanda Raye Rucker cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Kolby Hannah Sharp, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
John Francis Snoddy III, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Keila Nicole Stephens, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Quinton Okoye Thomas, Bachelor of Science in Education ,Secondary Social Studies
Lauren Sydney Turner, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Jeannette Elaine Utterback summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training (with Honors)
Honors Project: Non-Contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in the Female Athlete: A Review of Literature Maranda Shain Westbrook, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Phillip Crawford Windham, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology

SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS 
Dr. Thomas Webster, Dean
Hunter Scott Barrett, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music
Steven Wayne Brown, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music
Hannah Green summa cum laude, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music
Shelbi Victoria Herndon cum laude, Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance
Casey Michael Papas summa cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts (with Honors)
Honors Project: An Examination of the Effects of Mental Illness on the Immediate Family in David Auburn?s Proof: A Director's Approach 
Jacob Ross Pierce cum laude, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music
Sarah Joy Rose, Bachelor of Arts, Music
Clarke Alan Tanner, Bachelor of Arts, Music
Sylvia Ventura, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music
Amanda Willis cum laude, Bachelor of Music, All Level Music 

SCHOOL OF NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES 
Dr. Lynn New, Dean 
Jessie Brandon Booker, Master of Arts in Counseling
Dana Lynnette Converse, Master of Arts in Counseling
Eleanor Carmelia Eckels, Master of Arts in Counseling
Kenneth Wayne Estes, Jr, Master of Arts in Counseling
William Derrell Hill, Master of Arts in Counseling
Bethany Lyanne Rosado, Master of Arts in Counseling
Amber Lea Lauren Smith, Master of Arts in Counseling
Ashley Michelle West, Master of Arts in Counseling
Zachary Jay Billings cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Chemistry
Hunter James Clark, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice
Courtney Elizabeth Gallegly, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Brittney Garner summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Biology (with Honors) and Chemistry 
Honors Project: Community Plant Analysis: 10-Years of Succession 
Adam David Hawbaker summa cum laude, Bachelor of Science, Biology (with Honors) and Mathematics
Honors Project: Modeling the Metabolism of Pre-Cretaceous Meganisoptera 
Ryan Nickolas Hernandez, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice
Nicolas Simon Larzabal summa cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, History and Sociology
Robert Wayne Matthews cum laude, Bachelor of Applied Science, Criminal Justice
Elizabeth Anne Nesbitt summa cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Child Development
Matthew Allen Stevens, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Robert H. Vickers, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Benjamin Wilson cum laude, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice
Curtis A. Yates, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice