Williams Baptist University will hold its final commencement exercises under the title of “college” this Saturday, May 5. Last fall, WBU announced the name change to Williams Baptist University, and as the final student walks across the stage to receive the final Williams Baptist University diploma, WBU will take one more step in its transition to WBU.
With more than 90 students ready to receive their diplomas, the added significance of this year’s commencement is not lost on the graduating class.
“To be in the last class graduating class as Williams Baptist University is a surreal aspect to grasp,” said Makayla Marshall. “For me, it means that I can say I graduated from an amazing college that will now be an amazing university. We are at the end of something great, but it is only the beginning of something greater.”
Marshall is from Farmington, Mo., and will receive her degree in Christian ministries.
Fellow graduate Ryan Whittle echoed Marshall’s sentiments.
“I came to Williams expecting to just earn my degree and wrestle. Four years have now gone by and its incredible how much more God provided for me while here at WBU. I came as a part of WBU’s first ever wrestling program and then the first ever Greco-Roman program. So, it’s only fitting I get to be a part of WBU’s ‘last something,’ too,” he said.
Whittle is from Greenwich, Conn., and will receive his degree in health and physical education.
Williams graduates buy in to the mission and purpose of the institution, and often walk away with much more than a degree. While that foundation will remain unchanged, the class of 2018 will forever mark a turning point in Williams’s rich history.
“The history of Williams Baptist University is one of the main characteristics of the college, and to be etched into such a prolific background means something special to me. I will always be able to say that Williams Baptist University made a positive impact on my life before it was deemed Williams Baptist University,” added Alec Scott.
Scott is from Rector, Ark., and will receive his degree in business administration.
Saturday’s commencement will mark the institution’s final official ceremony as Williams Baptist University.
Graduation will begin at 10 a.m. in Williams’s Southerland-Mabee Center, and Dr. Sheri Midkiff will deliver the commencement address. Midkiff is retiring at the end of this semester after 43 years as an English professor at WBU.
Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge.