OBU conferred degrees upon 72 undergraduate and 36 graduate students during Winter Commencement, Friday, Dec. 14. The ceremony took place in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. Dr. Blake Gideon, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Edmond, delivered the address.
Graduates took their ceremonial final walk as OBU students before filing into Raley Chapel. The students, in academic regalia, passed through a long line of OBU faculty members before arriving in Potter Auditorium.
OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock presided over the ceremonies and delivered the charge to graduates. Dale Griffin, assistant vice president for spiritual life and dean of the chapel, led the invocation, and Dr. Hance Dilbeck, executive director and treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, delivered a greeting from the BGCO.
The program included a presentation of the undergraduate class by Clayton Myers, president of the OBU Student Government Association, and a presentation of the graduate class by Casondra Williams, Master of Science in Nursing graduate. Dr. Susan DeWoody, vice president for academic affairs, joined both.
Steven Floyd, controller at OBU, provided the reading of Scripture, and Dr. Will Smallwood, senior vice president for advancement and university relations, inducted the graduates into the OBU Alumni Association.
Gideon graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2005 with an undergraduate degree in theology. He then received a Master of Arts in religious education and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern in 2008. He completed his Doctor of Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2015. He is the author of several books, including “Soaring with the Eagles,” “Unvarnished Truth,” “Identity,” and “What Baptists Believe and Why They Believe It.”
Gideon challenged students to live every day with eternity in sight.
“Let me encourage you, graduates, to live this day and every day hereafter in light of that day when Christ shall come in glory,” he said. “And my prayer is that you will choose to adopt the prayer of Jonathan Edwards, ‘Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.’”
Whitlock gave his traditional charge to the graduates near the end of the ceremony.
“As you commence this new phase in life, determine to serve one another and do so with an informed caring,” he said. “Dare to walk in faith believing that God will use you to make a difference. Strive for excellence and quality in every area of your life.”
“I pray that when you fall, you pull yourselves up by the strength of Christ in you,” he said. “I pray that your lives be spent in a worthy cause, the cause of Christian servanthood. I pray that you live your purpose and dare to be all that God has purposed for you. I pray that you find yourselves in the company of men and women who dare to be different, who dare to be good.”