GRACEVILLE—Saying “Never, never, never settle for normal,” Baptist College of Florida President Thomas A. Kinchen offered inspiring words to 43 graduating seniors during the college’s Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony held May 21 in Graceville.
“If you do, don’t tell anyone you graduated from The Baptist College of Florida,” he added during the moving commencement address.
“Even though things seem to be going back to some sort of normal, do not let this be the new normal when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Continue doing God’s work in your career fields, extraordinarily well, and don’t let anything stop you!”
Held outdoors at the Grand Bobby Pavilion located in historic Heritage Village on the campus, the graduation was filled with excitement as family, friends, faculty and staff arrived early for the event, many traveling from great distances. Together they celebrated the culmination of hard work, diligent study, and dedication required for the conferring of their diplomas.
Families sat socially distanced as graduates marched down the sidewalk to the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” by the Brass Ensemble, conducted by Professor Ronald Branning. After the traditional processional, the invocation was given by Kaye Johnson, Education Division Chair, followed by the hymn “O Worship the King” led by Bill Davis, Music and Worship Division Chair.
Kinchen welcomed guests and recognized family members who played a major role in the lives and success of the assembled graduates.
A special moment of recognition was given to Professor Tanya Gardner as Kinchen and Kristy Ford, chair of the General Education Division, “hooded” Gardner who recently earned her doctorate but was unable to attend the graduation and participate in the hooding tradition.
The BCF College Singers presented the anthem “Expression of Gratitude” before the president offered the commencement address.
After confirmation by Registrar Stephanie Orr and the faculty, Academic Dean Robin Jumper presented graduates to the president for final approval.
Once approval was granted, names of each graduate were called to receive their diploma to the applause and cheers of family and friends.
The 2021 graduating class included eight students obtaining their master’s degree.
Graduates were then instructed to turn their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the final official act of graduation.
Following the singing of the college hymn, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” and benediction by Olan Strickland, director of Campus Safety and Plant Operations, the Brass Ensemble played the recessional piece.
Singing the spiritual “When the Saints Go Marching In,” graduates left with diplomas in hand, excited to pursue their future journeys.
The entire ceremony was a celebration of the academic accomplishments of the new graduates as they embarked on “Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®.”
For more information on The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800-328-2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.