BOLIVAR – Recognizing students’ scholarship and hard work, Southwest Baptist University (SBU) honored 449 graduates in spring commencement May 21 on the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum on the main campus.
The commencement address was given by Michael Arrington, executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities. Arrington is a former professor of history, provost, and senior vice president for academic affairs at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. Arrington also served 28 years at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Traveling to many international locations, he conducts seminars, speaking engagements, forums, and business negotiations.
The Bob R. Derryberry senior address was given by graduating senior Caprice Joyce Applequist.
SBU President C. Pat Taylor and Provost William Brown gave faculty recognitions to Robert Kitchin and Ann Kitchin. The Kitchins plan to enter into retirement this summer after serving SBU since 1984.
Kevin Hopkins, SBU professor and department chair of mathematics, was awarded the Parkway Distinguished Professor Award from Parkway Baptist Church. Hopkins will be recognized during the 2011 fall formal convocation for this achievement.
Hopkins began his career at SBU in 1989 and has served as the chair of the mathematics department for 22 years. He has led the department to be on the cutting edge of the use of technology in teaching mathematics. He has overseen several revisions of the mathematics curriculum during this time as well. He has also led the department to host multiple mathematics contests for elementary, middle, and high school students each year.
He is a faithful and active member of First Baptist Church, Bolivar. He sings in the choir, plays in the hand bell choir, publishes his Sunday School Class email newsletter, and is the secretary of the fellowship of deacons. Over the years he has served in many ways in numerous ministries such as children’s choirs and vacation Bible school.
The Life Beautiful Awards for 2011 graduates went to Holly Stubbs and Brandon Griffin.
Stubbs attends a home church in Bolivar and is originally from Urbana, Ill. She graduated summa cum laude receiving a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and English. She was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. She is a member of Chi Sigma Theta, Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Chi. Stubbs also was a Gordon and Judy Dutile Honors Student. For her Honors Capstone Project, Stubbs compiled and translated a Russian-language theater script, originally performed at the St. Petersburg Art Academy, where she studied for a semester.
She has been on several SBU mission trips, including China and South Asia. She grew up in Kazakhstan, where her parents were teachers and missionaries. She has been accepted to teach in China through the English Language Institute in China.
Griffin is from Mountain Home, Ark., and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, is a member of Alpha Chi, Theta Alpha Kappa, and vice president of Psi Chi.
He is a student member of the Midwest Sociological Society, and presented papers at the Midwest Psychology Symposium in 2009 and 2010. Griffin attended the Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum in 2010. Griffin won the Outstanding Theology Department Scholar Award, and has served as an SBU Ambassador since 2009.
Griffin participated in the SBU mission trip to Baja in 2009 and a medical mission trip to Brazil with a group of doctors from his hometown. He is a member of First Baptist Church, Mountain Home, and was a key volunteer in founding the Journey Church in Bolivar.
The Life Beautiful Award was established in 1937 by Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil. It goes 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.