SNU Commencement 2012 in Review

Southern Nazarene University celebrated its 109th Commencement Saturday, May 12, with approximately 464 graduates.

"There's nothing on a university campus like graduation day. The excitement and joy of this day is unparalleled for the campus community. We enjoyed the two-day event with about 450 graduates and their families. Our expectations are that this class will join the 109 previous graduating cohorts of SNU to do wonderful things for the world in which they will work and serve. Our investment in their lives will be rewarded richly over the coming decades,” said Loren Gresham, PhD, President of Southern Nazarene University.

Gwen Ladd Hackler, Professor, Department of English and Director, Academic Grants Office, began the processional by carrying in the Academic Mace.  The honor of Academic Mace Bearer is awarded by a faculty vote to a senior member of the SNU faculty in recognition of dedicated service and outstanding qualities that exemplify the SNU motto.  Dr. Hackler has served full-time as an SNU faculty member since 1983.  Also, this May Commencement marks 25 years of continuous service for Dr. Hackler as a faculty marshal.  

The commencement address was delivered by Bobby Gruenewald (Class of ’97), who serves as Pastor, Innovation Leader at and is the co-founder of YouVersion, the Bible App that is helping tens of millions of people make God’s Word a part of their daily lives.  

During his speech, Gruenewald stated, “In your next steps some of you may be pursuing fortune, some of you will be pursing fame, some will pursue knowledge, and some of you will pursue influence.  You may or may not be successful in those pursuits.  What I do know that if you pursue God, and if you pursue his purpose for your life, He stands ready to do more than you could ever ask or imagine."

Three students, Laura Pearson, Jefferson Berryman and Konnie Wamble, were awarded The President’s Award.  This honor is the highest award at SNU for traditional undergraduate students.  Recipients of this award are nominated based on academic excellence, service, campus leadership and a demonstration of the qualities reflected in SNU’s motto, “Character, Culture, Christ.”

Student marshals for the May 2011 Commencement were recognized for their outstanding academic performance among those anticipating graduation in the coming academic year: Nathan Adams, Albany Berkely, Robbie Bollinger, Zach Bond, Brad Crofford, Bethany Gray, Mary G. Haikin, Amy Madden, Ellen Martin, Alexandra Oakes, Timara Starkey and Nicole Tanizawa.

The morning Commencement was followed by the tradition of the Ivy Ring with graduating seniors and their families.  

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.