By Rachel Moreno
November 20, 2020
ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Ouachita Baptist University will hold its 133rd commencement honoring the class of 2020 on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. in Cliff Harris Stadium on Ouachita’s campus. The ceremony, which was rescheduled from its original date in May due to COVID-19, will honor 309 graduates earning Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees.
The gates to Cliff Harris Stadium open at 12 p.m. for guests, and guests must have a ticket to enter. In accordance with the Arkansas Department of Health, guest seating will be limited due to capacity constraints to maintain physical distancing. Friends and family who are not able to attend in person may watch commencement live at www.livestream.com/obu or through the Livestream app. Masks also are required for all in attendance, including graduates, Ouachita faculty and staff.
Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president, will preside over the annual commencement exercises. Dr. Kathy Collins, associate professor of education and Dr. Ray Granade, director of library services and professor of history, will serve as commencement marshals.
“We look forward to welcoming these graduates back to campus to celebrate their outstanding achievement of completing their degrees even as their Spring 2020 experience was drastically altered due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Sells. “This class of Tigers will always have a special place in history and in our hearts, and Lisa and I feel a special kinship since we started at Ouachita with this class in 2016.”
Additionally, students who attended Ouachita from Fall 2016 to Spring 2020 represent the highest four-year graduation rate on record for the university at 60.5%, well surpassing the most recent state average of 32% published by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The ceremony will include an invocation by 2019-2020 Senior Class President Maggie Donnell, a social justice studies and psychology double major from Rogers, Ark. The university’s vision and mission statement will be read by Lori Motl, director of Admissions Counseling, and Rickey Rogers, dean of students.
Scripture reading will be led by the top graduate from the Pruet School of Christian Studies: Seigen Nichols, a Christian studies/Christian ministry and business administration/entrepreneurship double major from Forest Hill, La.
Dr. Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs, will introduce the graduates. Taylor King, chair of the Board of Trustees, will deliver the prayer of dedication.
Dr. Gary Gerber, dean of the School of Fine Arts, will lead in the singing of the alma mater and the university hymn, “See God’s Light.” Both selections will be accompanied by recordings of the Ouachita Wind Ensemble, which is directed by Dr. Craig Hamilton, Lena Goodwin Trimble Professor of Music and director of bands.
The commencement exercises will be livestreamed at www.livestream.com/obu. For more information about commencement, visit obu.edu/graduation.
Ouachita Baptist University, a private liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, Ark., is in its 135th year as a Christ-centered learning community. Its seven academic schools include business, Christian studies, education, fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. For more information, visit www.obu.edu or call 800-DIAL-OBU.