Southern Nazarene University Celebrates Spring Commencement

Commencement ceremonies took place on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma, with the awarding of 428 degrees. In addition, two were awarded with honorary doctorate degrees, and recognitions of outstanding service and student leadership were given. Dr. David A. Busic, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, and an alumnus of Southern Nazarene University, served as Commencement speaker.


A total of 295 Bachelors degrees were awarded in the morning and afternoon ceremonies, and 133 received the Masters degree. The President’s Award, the highest award at SNU for traditional undergraduate students, based on academic excellence, leadership and service, was presented to graduating seniors Grace Williams of Bethany, Oklahoma and Tyler Lloyd of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A highlight of the morning ceremony was the recognition of twenty “Golden Grads,” a group made up of those who participated in their Commencement at what was then Bethany Nazarene College fifty years prior. Each Golden Grad received a BNC/SNU medallion from President Loren Gresham, and celebrated at a special luncheon following the morning’s activities.

The Doctor of Humane Letters was awarded to Dr. Juanita V. Copley, Professor Emerita at the University of Houston, who is a member of the Board of Trustees at SNU, and serves as Chairman of its Academic Affairs Committee. Dr. Copley is recognized internationally for her work in early childhood mathematics, having published several textbooks and continues to be a sought after presenter, consultant and speaker.

Mr. Bobby Gruenewald, who serves as Pastor, Innovation Leader at and is the founder of YouVersion, the Bible App reaching over 175 million people, was also awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters. An alumnus of SNU, Bobby is one of the leading voices in the church as it relates to innovation and the use of technology. Often featured nationally on major television networks and in leading technology publications, Bobby continues to explore new ideas to leverage them in the global church.

The Crimson Award, bestowed by the Board of Trustees at SNU, celebrates outstanding long-term service to the university, the campus community and the Church of the Nazarene. This year, the award was presented to Mrs. Margaret Farmer, a 27 year member of the SNU Staff, and Executive Assistant to the Vice President of University Advancement and Church Relations.

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 75 years at SNU.

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.