SNU Celebrates 113th Commencement

BETHANY, OK – On Saturday, May 14th, Southern Nazarene University (SNU) celebrated the 113th Commencement on the Campus of SNU, with the awarding of 490 degrees. Also, two were awarded honorary doctorate degrees, and recognitions of outstanding service and student leadership were given. Dr. Rick Harvey, Pastor of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, served as Commencement speaker.

The President's Award is the highest award at SNU for traditional undergraduate students. Two students, one male, and one female, are selected by a vote of the faculty and administration. Students are nominated based on academic excellence, service, campus leadership, and a demonstration of the qualities reflected in SNU's motto, "Character / Culture / Christ." The sculpture presented to recipients is entitled, "A His Name" and was crafted by SNU alumnus Scott Stearman. Their names will be added to a plaque in Webster Commons displaying names of recipients since 1940. This marks the 77th year for presenting this award. Mandie Oliver and Felipe Simoes were the awardees this Commencement.

Susie Shellenberger received a Doctor of Divinity award. Susie Shellenberger is an internationally known author and speaker and a tenured Evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene.She received her B.A. degree in Communication in 1978 from Southern Nazarene University and her M.A. from the University of Central Oklahoma in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing in 1988. Susie was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene in 2004. She has traveled to every continent through her ministry and has led over 8000 students and adults on international mission trips over the last 17 years.  Shellenberger has authored 57 books, been a featured guest on several TV shows, and has hosted a national call-in talk show for teens. Before creating Susie Shellenberger Ministries in 2009, she worked for Focus on the Family for 20 years and before that she was a high school teacher in Bethany. Susie currently resides here in Bethany but travels about 43 weeks of the year.

Ambassador Kenneth E. Tillett received a Doctor of Humane Letters award. Kenneth E. Tillett has been in public service throughout his life starting as a City Councilor for Belize City in 1974. During his time he has served in a variety of roles including Senate Minority Leader, Belizean Senate; Negotiator for Belize with both Belize-Guatemala Negotiations and Belize-Peoples of Republic of China Negotiations; Director of Refugee Department for the Government of Belize; and as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Government of Belize, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Tillett received his B.A. degree in Political Science in 1967 from Southern Nazarene University, his M.A. in American Government from George- town University, Washington, D.C. in 1972, and he was credentialed in Humanitarian Law at the Humanitarian Institute in San Remo, Italy in 1992. Most recently he has served as an instructor of Political Science at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He resides in Florida with his wife, Margaret of 50 years. They have three children.

SNU honored twenty-six members of the Bethany Nazarene College Class of 1966, who 50 years ago walked across the Commencement stage to receive their diplomas. Each Golden Graduate was presented with a special commemorative medallion displaying the BNC & SNU seals. By honoring these Golden Grads, we signify the life-long connection between Alumni and this institution.

Following the morning Commencement, traditional graduates took part in the Ivy Ring ceremony, a symbolic parting of the ways that has taken place for over 76 years at SNU.

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to make Christlike disciples through higher education in Christ-centered community.