Approximately 112 students walked across the stage on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the John W. Swails Center with 104 earning a bachelor’s degree and another 8 earning the associate’s degree.
• This year’s baccalaureate co-valedictorians were Mr. Logan Reese and Ms. Alexa Quarles. Ms. Vanessa Brown was the associate’s degree valedictorian.
• Faculty Awards went to Mr. Seth Bell and Ms. Lydia Adams.
o Lydia, who has been hospitalized for several weeks from a debilitating disease, was able to attend graduation to receive her degree and is expected to make a full recovery.
• The Lee H. and Lucille Firebaugh Memorial Award was presented to Ms. Judy Henzel.
• Ms. April James, Director of the Quality Enhancement Program received the annual. Vulcan Award.
• The Lorraine Wells Melton Support Staff Award was given to Ms. Sandy Campbell.
• Ms. Deborah Millier was awarded the President Thomas L. Aaron Faculty Memorial Award.
To facilitate in-person graduation, three ceremonies were held which were divided by school and department. Each ceremony featured a different speaker from the faculty: Dr. Scott Ellington, Professor of Christian Ministries; Dr. Terilyn Goins, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies; and Dr. David Jordan, Professor of Business and chair of the Business Department.
Dr. Ellington, who spoke at the 10 a.m. ceremony, shared on change, and the opportunities the class of 2021 has ahead of them that previous classes have not.
He encouraged graduates to see change as a gift from God.
“Don’t overlook it,” he said. “You may not want things to look different, but for those of you who are starting in the callings God has given you, this is a good gift. You may have had a different plan for your life, but God has given you the gift of change.”
Dr. Goins, who spoke to the 1:00 p.m. audience, shared on the two roads available to students when they graduate, the broad and narrow path.
“It’s easy to follow the world and what it offers you,” she said. “But following faith requires commitment.”
Dr. Goins encouraged the graduates to follow what is ethical instead of what’s popular.
If we follow Christ, we can know that he will fulfill his promises by providing, protecting, and being present,” she said. “This is the only thing – not anyone or anything other than God can get us through.”
At the 4:00 p.m. ceremony, Dr. David Jordan, Chair of the Business Department spoke to the graduates and asked them to remember two things.
First, he joked that the audience owed him three minutes of their time. He mentioned that he was asked to speak for 10 minutes and would only be using 7 minutes of his allotted time. But then he challenged the graduates to use that time wisely.
“I want you to include those three minutes into your daily life,” he said. “I want you to keep yourself in the love of God by spending time in his word. Those three minutes will lead to many other joyous moments in scripture, prayer, and all of what life has in store. You are his instrument, his living vessel for the people and places he touches in you and through you.”
Lastly, he encouraged the graduates that the end of their time at Emmanuel was not the end of anything, but the beginning of everything. Opportunity awaits!
Congratulations, Class of 2021! Once a Lion, Always a Lion!
Photos by Dr. Blake Rackley