Roy Blunt speaks at SBU graduation, honored at Hall of Distinction ceremony
By Tamera Heitz-Peek
SBU Director of Public Relations
May 31, 2005
BOLIVAR — Four thousand guests crowded onto the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum May 21 eagerly watching as their graduates crossed the center stage to shake President C. Pat Taylor’s hand and to receive their diplomas. The blue skies and slight breeze made the spring commencement ceremony at Southwest Baptist University (SBU) a picture-perfect day.
The commencement speaker, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and a 1970 graduate of SBU, reminded the 348 undergraduate and graduate students that “graduation really is the best time on campus.” After jokingly saying that “there are no good 30- minute speeches and there are no bad 12-minute speeches,” Blunt talked about the importance of life and living. “Preparing you to live a life is every bit as important as preparing you to make a living, and both of those things happen on this campus,” remarked Blunt.
Illustrating the opposites of God’s kingdom in comparison to a worldly view, Blunt suggested that it is important to understand the differences.
“In the world, there are no absolutes. In God’s kingdom, there is one absolute. In the world, seeing is believing. In God’s kingdom, believing is seeing. In the world you depend on yourself. In God’s kingdom you depend on God.” Blunt continued by saying, “That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to have a plan because He does. God just doesn’t want us to rely on our plan — he wants us to rely on Him.”
Prior to becoming a member of Congress, Blunt served as president of SBU from January 1993 until October 1996. He served as a member of the university’s board of trustees from 1985 until he was named president. Blunt was awarded an honorary degree in civil law from SBU in 1986.
Later in the evening SBU honored Blunt for his service as president of SBU and his Christian leadership in public service at the dedication of the Roy Blunt Hall of Distinction.
Located in the grand entrance and lobby of the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness and Sports Center, the Roy Blunt Hall of Distinction also includes a display area of Blunt memorabilia. A plaque commemorating Blunt’s contributions to the school and to public service was unveiled during the dedication ceremony.
Also, three retiring SBU faculty members were recognized during the commencement ceremony – Dan Cochran, senior professor of philosophy; Wesley Gott, associate professor of art; and Larry Whatley, associate professor of history and political science.
In addition the 2005 Life Beautiful Awards were presented to Brooke (Pflasterer) Danielsen and Nathan Hamann. Danielsen graduated summa cum laude with a degree in music education. She is married to Aarik Danielsen, a 2004 graduate of SBU, and is the daughter of David and Sue Pflasterer of Troy. Hamann also graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics and religious studies. He is the son of Herb and Joyce Hamann of Bolivar.
Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil, established the Life Beautiful Award in 1937. This award is given annually to an outstanding man and woman in the SBU spring graduating class. These individuals have demonstrated by their scholarship and character that they are living a “life beautiful.” The faculty selects the recipients, whose identities remain confidential until commencement.
The 2005 Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award was presented to Dwight Haun, assistant professor education. The Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award is chosen by the current and three previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member for “outstanding teaching ability and personal guidance.”