Graduates urged to follow in footprints, maximize impact

Graduates urged to follow in footprints, maximize impact

Nearly 240 graduates were recognized during morning commencement exercises at BBC&S, with President Jim Jeffery encouraging those earning diplomas to "maximize your impact."

Diplomas were presented on Saturday, May 10, for the first time in the new Recreation Center. Family and friends filled the multi-purpose facility, with the event simulcast to the nearby Phelps Student Center and streamed live worldwide.

BBC&SGraduates ranged from those earning two-year Associate of Arts degrees to three doctoral-level degrees. Graduates included residents of 32 states and five other nations -- Brazil, Canada, Nicaragua, Myanmar, and South Africa.

A range of pictures from the event are posted at

See a complete list of graduates and the commencement program here.

'Maximize Your Impact'
President Jim Jeffery, the featured speaker, challenged graduates to follow the footprints of the prophet Isaiah. The message wrapped together his series on Isaiah preached in weekly chapels over the course of the academic year.

"His footprints in the sands of time leave imprints to help you and I maximize our influence for Christ," he said. "His influence for God marked the people of God of his day and a number of nations."

He described three lessons from Isaiah's learning, life, and leadership that relate to the core experiences in a BBC&S education.

"In your learning, continue to think biblically because Christ is our Prophet," he said. "In your living, continue to grow spiritually because Christ is our Priest. In your leading, continue to serve faithfully because Christ is our King."

Listen to President Jeffery's commencement message here.

Graduates and their families enjoyed a special time with President and Mrs. Jeffery and the BBC faculty the evening before Commencement.

Range of Graduates
Among the graduates Saturday was Spencer Valeri of Pinckney, MI, who earned a Master of Divinity degree and will be stepping into a new role as Pastor of Family Ministries at Berean Baptist Church in Mansfield, OH.

"I appreciated the BBS learning experience -- not only the academics, which are foundational to ministry, but the drive to be a person of character," he said. "I am thankful for this intentional balance of practical ministry and academics. I am excited to put the skills I gained into practice at our new ministry.

Gina Perone, a General Missions major from Bangor, PA, is looking into work in Bangladesh ministering to women and children.

"In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says that we are to be the light of the world. As someone hoping to go into global ministry this resonates with me. When I first came to BBC, my light was there but it was very dim. Through these four years, receiving an excellent education and being mentored by numerous godly individuals, I have grown excited about serving the Lord. I want to shine my light to those around me, spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ."

82nd Commencement
BBC&SThe event was the 82nd commencement ceremony in BBC&S' history. Founded in 1932 in Johnson City, NY, the current campus in Clarks Summit, PA was obtained in 1968.

In addition to students from other nations, states represented among the graduates included Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The invocation was given by John Greening, Chairman of the BBC&S Board of Trustees. The BBC Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. David Harris, performed special music, including "Psalm 100" and "A Mighty Fortress." The Prayer of Dedication was presented by BBS Dean Dr. Michael Stallard. The Scripture reading, Isaiah 6: 1-8, was offered by Associate Professor Ted Boykin.

Along with a diploma, graduates walking the stage were given a towel, a reminder to walk humbly with God and to live as a servant to others.

The exercises included the carrying of an academic mace. The wooden mace was a gift from Dr. Russell Kooy of Jacksonville, OR, a retired surgeon who designed and crafted the mace himself and donated the piece. Read more about the mace here.

Those in attendance sang the college hymn, "Holding Fast the Faithful Word," and "How Firm a Foundation."

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 5/10/2014 10:24:55 AM

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