Graduates Shaped Through Learning that Transforms

Nearly 200 graduates were recognized during morning commencement exercises at BBC&S, with President Jim Jeffery encouraging those walking across the stage to learn, live, and lead through a life marked by ongoing growth.

Diplomas presented on May 7 at the Phelps Student Center ranged from a one-year Bible Certificate to five Doctor of Ministry degrees and three PhDs. Graduates included residents of 28 states and 4 other nations -- Canada, Myanmar, Niger, and South Africa.BBC&S

Brittany Meredith Floyd, a Elementary Education graduate from Cary, NC, was among the students who spoke about their experience.

"BBC has given me more than an education," she said. "The knowledge and wisdom gained will be with me in my job and ministry."

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

Pictures from the day are posted at www.facebook.com/BaptistBible.

'Learning that Transforms'
BBC&S President Jim Jeffery encouraged graduates, families, friends, faculty, and staff through his commencement address, "Learning that Transforms," based on Colossians 1:9-10. Some education is not based on truth and can lead to confusion, he said. Education can also inform, or simply conform learners to superficial living rather than learning to think.

"Biblical higher education is transformational learning," he said. "It leads to faith, hope, and love. It leads to maturity in Christ-likeness."

He charged graduates to increase in the knowledge of God as they serve and lead others in a range of careers.

"The cycle of learning continues because of a humble heart and a teachable spirit," he said. "Being a disciple means being a learner and a follower."BBC&S

President Jeffery's commencement message will be posted soon at www.bbc.edu/chapel.

President's Award of Distinction
The 79th commencement program included the presentation of the President's Award of Distinction to Elizabeth "Betty" Van Campen of Fishers, IN.

Established in 1995, the award is given periodically to trustees or major contributors to the ministry of BBC&S. It follows the biblical mandate to give honor to whom honor is due and is given to those who have faithfully served and heartily supported the mission and goals of BBC&S.

As a tribute to her father, Dr. William Walker Barndollar, Mrs. Van Campen established funds for an annual lectureship at Baptist Bible Seminary.

"Betty has faithfully responded to the call of the Lord to utilize her talents of teaching, mentoring, public speaking, leadership, organization, and hospitality to further the cause of Christ," President Jeffery said.

"She periodically visits campus to get to know the girls who live in the residence hall that bears her father's name. She is a living the legacy of her parents as they modeled faith, stewardship, and generosity."

In accepting a Waterford Crystal globe, Mrs. Van Campen called the experience "humbling."

"I consider it a distinct honor to be called a friend of BBC&S," she said.

Personal, global impact
Family and friends gathered across the Quad after graduation. For some, like the Gromacki family, it was a mulit-generational event.

BBC&SGavin Gromacki, a Pre-Seminary major, earned his bachelor's degree. He was joined on this special day by his father, BBS Associate Professor Dr. Gary Gromacki ('06, Doctor of Philosophy), and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Gromacki ('56, Bachelor of Theology).

"I was privileged to teach Gavin in one of my seminary
classes last year," Gary said. "2 Timothy 2:2 is the theme verse of Baptist Bible Seminary and my life: 'And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.'"

In addition to students from four other nations, states represented among the graduates included Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

79th commencement
The event is the 79th commencement ceremony in school history. Founded in 1932 in Johnson City, NY, BBC&S moved to its current location in Clarks Summit, PA, in 1968.

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 "All Creatures of Our God and King," and "Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho." The Prayer of Dedication was presented by Professor Dr. Thomas Cragoe. The Scripture reading was offered by Associate Professor Dr. Kenneth Gardoski.

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.BBC&S

Dr. Kooy -- whose son-in-law, Avashkar Woompath, was among the graduates -- spent about 70 hours making the mace. His wife, Sandra, designed a suede covering for it in the BBC&S colors of blue and gold.

Read more about the mace here.

Those in attendance sang the college hymn, "Holding Fast the Faithful Word" by W.S. Miller and "Great is Thy Faithfulness" by Thomas Chisholm.

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to learn and serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 5/7/2011 12:39:56 PM