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ETBU Awards 149 Degrees During Spring Commencement

May 11, 2016

MARSHALL, Texas (5/11/16) – East Texas Baptist University held Spring Commencement in two sessions on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Baker Chapel of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center.  ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn presided over the ceremonies. A total of 149 students received degrees, 132 bachelor’s degrees and 17 master’s degrees.

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony included graduates of the Fred M. Hale School of Business, School of Communication and Performing Arts, School of Natural and Social Sciences, and School of Nursing. The 1:30 p.m. ceremony included graduates of the School of Education, School of Christian Studies, School of Humanities, and the Frank S. Groner School of Professional Studies.

“The earning of your degree is certainly a remarkable achievement. But the journey of lifelong learning and discovery does not end with the awarding of your degrees,” said Dr. Blackburn to the newest alumni of ETBU.  “Today’s commencement, graduates, is just that. You will commence from here, from this hill, to pursue the calling that God has on the rest of your life.” 

In the morning ceremony, Summa Cum Laude graduate Joe Meadows received the Presidential Award from Dr. Blackburn. The Mountain Home, Arkansas, native graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Distinction. His honors project was titled “An Investigation into Air Sample Testing using a Miniature Atmospheric Chamber and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry.” 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.

Dr. John Sargent, Dean of the School of Education, was presented Professor with Distinction honors for the 2015-2016 academic year. Dr. Sargent has served as a Professor of Education for 13 years at ETBU.  

The 13th president of ETBU shared with the capacity crowd what one student wrote about Dr. Sargent on his faculty evaluation. “Dr. Sargent is an amazing teacher. Not only does he care about your education but genuinely takes the time to get to know you. I wanted all my classes with him. His incorporation of faith and education is great. I knew I could trust him and talk to him about anything,” shared Dr. Blackburn.  

ETBU awarded two honorary Doctorate degrees during Spring Commencement.  One to E. Leon Carter, a partner in the Dallas law firm of Carter Scholer Arnett Hamada and Mockler, PLLC.  The other one to D.M Edwards of Tyler who is the founding CEO and chairman of Edwards Investments.   

Carter played basketball for ETBU from 1977 to 1980 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-law degree. He received his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and was admitted to the Bar in 1986.  Among his achievements, Carter is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  He was recently listed in The Best Lawyers in America in six areas: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Labor and Employment Litigation, First Amendment Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Patent Litigation. ETBU awarded Carter as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010.

Edwards has been a long faithful supporter of education in East Texas. He has served on the Board of Trustees at ETBU for 20 years, including his role as chairperson. Edwards attended Tyler public schools and was a Cum Laude graduate of Tyler Junior College. He is also a graduate of the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with double majors in Marketing and Management and a minor in Finance. Edwards’ father, the late Dr. Welby C. Edwards, was also an ETBU trustee. Edwards, along with his parents, helped established the School of Nursing in 1989 at the University. Edwards has a heart for Baptist work throughout Texas. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Timberline Baptist Encampment and Conference Center in Lindale and several Baptist General Convention of Texas committees. 

Baptist University of the Americas and Baptist General Convention of Texas President René Maciel delivered the charge to the ETBU graduates. Maciel has been president of BUA since 2007. BUA is the only university in the country specially committed to training cross-cultural Christian leaders of the Hispanic context. He was elected BGCT President during the annual meeting held last November in Frisco. 

Maciel shared with the graduates, “The struggle is not finding a job or getting into graduate school, the struggle is finding yourself. The world will try to mold you and shape you into someone else. You will begin to ask 'who am I?’”  He added it is important to remember their maker in times of questioning. “Take a good look in in the mirror because you have a likeness of your heavenly Father.”

ETBU and Baptist University of the Americas signed an articulation agreement on May 7. The agreement allows for a smooth transition of BUA graduates into the graduate programs at ETBU.  

The graduates of each ceremony finished their day by walking through a congratulatory line of ETBU faculty as they made their way to a reception tent set up next to historic Marshall Hall.  At the reception they were greeted by family and friends who attended. 

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 2016 graduates of ETBU as listed in the Commencement program:

FRED M. HALE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
Dr. Scott Ray, Dean
Anna Elise Alonzo, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration and Spanish
Isaac Jefferson Avery, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Jessica Nicole Bowden, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
LaToya Shameer Butler, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Conner Ryan Combs, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Shelby Nicole Fuller, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Derrick Jamaal Gordon, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Alicen Marie Guedry, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Stephanie Kathryn Harrington, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Danielle Shardai Kenebrew, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Andrew Sheldon Miller, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Nicholas Keith Shaw, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Lauren Elizabeth Tomchesson, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Taylor Lee Turley, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration


SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION AND PERFORMING ARTS
Dr. Thomas Webster, Dean
Zachary John Bearden, Bachelor of Music, Music and Worship in Ministry
Savannah Nicole Bell, Bachelor of Arts, Speech Communication
Katharine Rose Cox, Bachelor of Arts, Speech Communication
Caroline Hua-ran Donica, Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts and History (with Distinction)
Amber Elizabeth Beckham Flarity, Bachelor of Arts, Music
Christopher Ryan Henderson, Bachelor of Music, Music and Worship in Ministry
Duffey G. Henderson, Bachelor of Music, Music and Worship in Ministry
Lindsay Nicolle Silva, Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts
Sierra Eugenia Pizarro, Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication
Elena Sleazina, Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance
Callie Marissa Timme, Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Arts
Charles Edward Williams, Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication

SCHOOL OF NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Dr. Lynn New, Dean
Cody Wes Allen, Master of Arts in Counseling
Michael Allen Atwood, Master of Arts in Counseling
Rachel Marie Blankenship, Master of Arts in Counseling
Kay Haynes Lottinger, Master of Arts in Counseling
Hannah Laraine Rosado, Master of Arts in Counseling
Jordan E. Anderson, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice
Tiana Gabrielle Ballard, Bachelor of Science, Psychology (with Distinction)
Tyler James Bates, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice
Jessie Kirsten Boone, Bachelor of Science, Psychology 
Luke William Deavenport, Bachelor of Science, Sociology
Patrice LaShawn Flournoy, Bachelor of Science, Sociology
Weston Heath Godsey, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Anna B. Gutierrez, Bachelor of Science, Child Development
Amber Michelle Lowe, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
Robert Wayne Matthews, Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice
Joseph Harrison Meadows, Bachelor of Science, Chemistry (with Distinction)
Dyllon Aaron Morin, Bachelor fo Arts, Criminal Justice
Cassidy Brooke Muniz, Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Chelsea Amber Parrott, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Ernesto Octavio Perez, Jr., Bachelor of Science, Mathematical Sciences
Dereck James Pivetz-Valentin, Bachelor of Science, Chemistry
Amber Nicole Pless, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice
Stormie Elizabeth Rains, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice
Crystal J. Rimes, Bachelor of Arts, Sociology 
Victoria Vashun Rose, Bachelor of Science, Child Development
Halen Nicole Sanders, Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Tiffany Jean Sharp, Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Stevi Nicole Slaughter, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Shelby Lyn Strickland, Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Lane Harrison Stringfield, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Tyler Cameron Tolopka, Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Briauna Kashon Walker, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
Kimber Lee Whitfield, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Samuel Cullen Wilder, Bachelor of Science, Biology
Briona Jeane Wilson, Bachelor of Science, Biology

SCHOOL OF NURSING
Dr. Rebekah Grigsby, Dean
Sarah Meghan Alvis, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Hannah Ruth Armendarez, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Julie Arabie Chaler, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Tara Charlotte Frazier, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Araceli B. Gomez, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Brookelyn Saavon Jones, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Lauren Elaine McCallum, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Stephanie Rose Pierce, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Kimberly Lauren Sawyer, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Kylie Glynn Taylor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Kirsten Shannon Waller, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing
Laura Jasmin Zuniga, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nursing

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Dr. John Sargent, Dean
Kenneth William Adcock, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Elizabeth Anne Ashcraft, Master of Education, Curriculum & Instruction
Courtney Nicole Dawson, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Wanling He, Master of Education, Curriculum & Instruction
Rachel Dianne Graves, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Jacob Allen McClain, Master of Education, Teacher Certification
Amanda Raye Rucker, Master of Education, Sports and Exercise Leadership
Janae Leigh Shirley, Master of Education, Sports and Exercise Leadership
Shouqing Si, Master of Education, Curriculum & Instruction
Tiffany Stevenson, Master of Education, Principal Certification
Clarke Alan Tanner, Master of Education, Teacher Certification
Jeannette Elaine Utterback, Master of Education, Teacher Certification
Shelby Taylor Campbell, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Amanda Gail Fowler, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Bryce Colton Hale, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary History
Rebekah Ann Sherrod, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Tanner Swade Matthews, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary Speech Communication
Sally Faye Strand Perkins, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Theatre Arts
Annaliese Elizabeth Schuler, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Rachel Lynn Sirman, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Erin Joy Slaughter, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary Mathematics
Morgan Cait Walters, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education
Crystal Nicole Welch, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education

SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN STUDIES
Dr. John L. Harris, Dean
James Porter Brewer, Bachelor of Arts, Religion
John Travis Dice, Bachelor of Arts, Religion
Caleb Erron Dorsey, Bachelor of Arts, Religion
Chandler Reid Frazer, Bachelor of Arts, Religion
Austin Craig Odom, Bachelor of Arts, Religion
Zachary Steven Whitlow, Bachelor of Arts, Religion


SCHOOL OF HUMANTIES
Dr. Jerry Summers, Dean
Bret Tyler Atkins, Bachelor of Arts, English
Aiden Jewelle Gonzales, Bachelor of Arts, International Studies
Ashley Cheyenne Johnson, Bachelor of Arts, English (with Distinction)
Kristin Blair Williams, Bachelor of Arts, English (with Distinction) 
Michael Anthony Wooddell, Bachelor of Arts, History

FRANK S. GRONER SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
Dr. Joseph D. Brown, Dean
Justin Taylor Adams, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Bailey Danielle Alanis, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Ryan Kevin Barham, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Eric Isaac Cardona, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Amber Nicole Carver, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Kayla Pryse Casey, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Taylor Elisabeth Chaney, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Shelby Anne Etchelecu, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Justin Felicia, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Morgan Lee Garret, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Ryan Taylor Gill, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Thomas Aleczander Gunn, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Kristen Elizabeth Hensley, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Skylar Chase Hollis, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies
Eric Lynn Horton, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Winston Dakota Jackson, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Allison Nichole Jones, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Hannah Elizabeth Jones, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Zachary Theiss Jones, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Russell Lee Kilpatrick, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Sasha Joyce Kotowych, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Krystal Kirkland, Bachelor of Applied Science, University Studies
David Milton Lewis III, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Ja’Marcus Mackey, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Leslie Martinez, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Nicholas Ryan McElroy, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Hoyce Lee Mitchell, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Clarissa Montoya, Bachelor of Arts, University Studies
Melissa Genevieve Myers, Bachelor of Science, University Studies
Tyler Glynn Nugent, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Hugo Orta, Bachelor of Arts, Athletic Training
Dana Maree’ Payne, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Seth Lynn Powers, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology
Samantha Renee Rios, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Christina Inez Salas, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training and Math
Lydia Sanchez, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Casey Robert Baxter Sergent, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Azalea Rebecca Smith, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Brady Clinton Tomlin, Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Gustavo Vasquez, Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology
Cordarius DeWayne Williams, Bachelor of Science in Education, All Level Kinesiology