HLG holds December graduation ceremony
HANNIBAL – On a snowy morning in December, family and friends of 73 graduates plowed through ice and snow-packed highways and streets to attend the Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) December graduation ceremony. The ceremony, held Dec. 15, in the Parker Theatre of the Roland Fine Arts Center was the second December graduation in the history of the college.
Woodrow W. Burt, president of Hannibal-LaGrange College, stood and addressed the crowd. “Welcome to sunny, warm Hannibal, Missouri.” The audience responded with laughter. Burt went on to acknowledge the graduates, special guests, trustees, and introduce the keynote speaker and 2007 recipient of the HLG Outstanding Service Award, Gerald R. Davidson. This honor is awarded to an HLG alumnus who has given outstanding service to the college or their community through involvement in civic endeavors, religious leadership, or philanthropic efforts.
Davidson, who served several terms on the HLG Board of Trustees and is a 1958 graduate of Hannibal-LaGrange College, told Burt that he was humbled by the award. “I want to say to you, Hannibal-LaGrange College holds a very special place in my heart,” said Davidson. Speaking of his years as a student at HLG, Davidson continued, “These were the most impressionable, valuable and helpful years of my entire life. Of all the institutions that I have attended or been involved with, one that stands out above all is Hannibal-LaGrange College.” Davidson went on to share that on the drive up to Hannibal, he and his wife, Verlena, counted 20 members of their family, over the past 60 years, who have attended Hannibal-LaGrange College. “So, Hannibal is a very, very, special place in my heart and my life,” said Davidson.
Davidson, the newly elected president of the Missouri Baptist Convention, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Arnold (1976-2006), addressed the 73 graduates with his message, “The House that Wisdom Built.” Davidson challenged the graduates to build a wise house (life) using seven pillars—God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Faith, Courage, Commitment and Prayer. “Young people, you are getting ready to build your house. Let God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith, courage, commitment and prayer be the pillars, and they will support you through eternity.”
The following graduates are from Missouri: Bloomfield – Paula Cryts; Bonnots Mill – Lana Masters; Bowling Green – Rebekka Thornton; Center – Dana Whitt; Clarence – Stephanie Barton; Dexter – Stephen Foster, Jacqulyn Frederick, Jennifer Philpot; Doniphan – Connie Evans, Tiarae Meadors, Shayne Talburt; Edina – Lisa Clark; Ellington – Johnathan Roberts; Elsberry – Samuel Bonney, Bryan Keim; Garden City – Emily Yoder; Hannibal – Elisabeth Hinton, Lyndsey Hunt, Gary Jennings II, Nicole Leake, Samantha Miles, Ashlee Millstead, Shannon Richards, Carrie Sarno, Christine Stevens, Charles Dyer; Hillsboro – Spencer Scott; Lodi – Dawna Dewitt; Mexico – Erin Mattingly, Emily O’Laughlin, Amber Prange; Monroe City – Lisa Jones, Gretchen O’Bryan; New London – Erica Stewart; Paris – William Billings; Poplar Bluff – Kendra Collins; Pamela Duckett, Randy Glidewell, Jennifer Kearbey, Lee Sparks, Teresa Webb, Justin Wilcox, Rebecca Ziegler; Russellville – James Rosenberg; St. Louis – Stephen Dickemper, Stephanie Vega; Saverton – Robert Birks; Wayland – Randy Ewart; Zalma – Michelle Myers.