On Friday, May 12, The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) Wellness Center was filled to capacity as family, friends, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate years of hard work, diligent study, and intense determination of 52 graduates who completed all of the requirements earning their college degree.
With heart-pounding excitement, graduating seniors entered through the double-doors while the BCF College Winds played “Pomp and Circumstance” under the direction of Professor Ron Branning. Following the traditional processional, the invocation was offered by BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen followed by hymn favorite, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” led by BCF Music and Worship Division Chair Bill Davis. Guests were welcomed by Kinchen with deep expressions of gratitude for their tremendous support and encouragement to the graduating class.
Kinchen turned the audience’s attention to a faithful pastor and former trustee, one that served with distinction in the military, with distinction in the community, and the first African American to serve as the Chair of one of our Florida Baptist Agencies, Rev. Kenric R. Conway. In recognition of his many years of devoted Christian service to the Lord, Kinchen presented the Honorary Doctorate of Christian Letters to Conway with all of the rights, privilege, and responsibilities that comes with the high honor.
Following the exquisite rendition of “A Canticle of Blessing” by the combined ensemble under the direction of Professor Buford Cox, Kinchen addressed the graduates referring to scripture in Joshua and Jeremiah. “I’ve never seen a time in my life when hatred seems more prevalent than today,” stated Kinchen. “If I thought you were going out into the world all alone or unprepared, I’d say lock the doors, close the shades, and hide out. But I am here to tell you, that just as our registered trademark proclaims, ‘Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word,®’ you are not alone and that makes all the difference in the world.” Kinchen told graduates to remember that “Everywhere you place your foot and everywhere you gaze, it has been bought and paid for by our Savior. Be strong and courageous, never dwindle in your passion or energy, pray and sing the song of Zion!”
Presentation of the graduates by BCF Academic Dean Robin Jumper followed after confirmation by the registrar and affirmation of the faculty. Final approval was then granted by the president as seniors enthusiastically prepared to receive their diplomas. Family and friends cheered as the new college graduates walked across the stage and received their hard earned credentials from Kinchen. The 2017 spring graduating class included two students who received their associate degrees, forty-seven earning their bachelor’s degrees, two graduate degree recipients and one doctorate in Christian letters, making it a full day of celebration for the entire class. Graduates were then instructed to move their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the final official act of graduation.
After a rousing applause, the audience joined the faculty, staff and graduates in singing the BCF college hymn, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” followed by the benediction from newly hooded Dr. Kenric Conway.
Graduates eagerly exited the building and began to take pictures with their family, friends, and professors. Many of the graduates have finalized their plans for the future with several entering seminary or graduate school, one will be attending law school, and others will be working in positions of ministry, missions, music, education, business, and psychology. Challenged as the next greatest generation of Christian leaders, expectations are high as the graduating class carries out the BCF registered trademark. One thing is certain, as graduates close this chapter at The Baptist College of Florida, they enter the workforce trained and equipped to meet the challenge for success. For more information on the next graduation or to learn more about the degrees offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.
Seated: Stevie Kuhn, Kathryn Taylor, Rachel Miller, Kimberly Stull, Hannah Knight, Rebeka Brown, Jacqueline Long, Melody Barney, Rebecca Talley, Darby Thompson.
First Row: BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen, Cole Coggburn (Marshal), Hollis Prange, Brittany Sammons, Roselyn Zaiter, Kristina Scott, Valeria Montero, Breanna Clark, Jennifer Duncan, Samantha Raney, Anne Marie Sapp, Kristen Waller, Marcia Bell, Hunter Johnson (Marshal), Academic Dean Robin Jumper.
Second Row: Jariel Lopez, Abel Albritton, Matthew Denson, Glen Baer, Gregory Pruitt, James Oney Jr., Colt Hudson, Robert Young, Corban Stone, Jonah Powers, Clinton Logan.
Back Row: Anthony Williams, Cameron McNabb, DeLando Dyer, Bige Wade, Haden Keough, Nathanael Vargo, Jonathan Ketner, Richard Manning
Not Pictured: Mary Baucum, Meagan Clavel, Devan Dale, Matthew Jones, Robert Loven, Kelly McCall, Wesley McDougald, Cameron Sandel, Adam Stevens, Quincy Stratford.