Winter Commencement Held at Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University conferred over 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees at its Winter Commencement on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Dr. Keith Newman, president, welcomed the large crowd that gathered in the Sawyer Center on the campus in Bethany, Oklahoma, and presided over the ceremony and granting of the degrees.

The Commencement Address was given by Mr. Mark Martinez (’90) (MHR 24). Mark is a member of the SNU Alumni Board and a General Manager for Johnson Controls, Inc. for the Western U.S. He is also the co-founder of Apex Dash, a ministry helping men understand their God-given purpose in order to reach their Apex in all aspects of their life. With a baseball-themed message, he challenged the graduates to believe their goals can be achieved if they strive for a ‘grand slam’ with intentionality, awareness of others and remembering that God is preparing them for their next ‘at bat’. As a reminder of the day, graduates were gifted a baseball by the SNU Alumni Association to write on - defining their goals to reach their potential and fulfill their God-given purpose.

A highlight of the Commencement ceremony was the conferring of the Doctor of Divinity degree to Rev. Chuck Fountain, Superintendent of the Louisiana District, Church of the Nazarene. Dr. Fountain’s more than thirty-five years of pastoral ministry has been a reflection of his passion for multi-cultural evangelism and church growth. He earned his undergraduate degree at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN, and a master’s degree at Huntington University in Indiana.

Several of those participating in the Commencement program were parents of graduates, including Prof. Stephane Shellenberger, a 34-year member of the faculty, who was honored as Academic Mace Bearer by a vote of her peers, for dedicated and exemplary service to SNU. Shellenberger’s son, Matt, received a Master of Arts degree. Offering the opening prayer was Mrs. Karla Starkey of Wichita, Kansas, and mother of SNU Men’s Basketball standout and graduate degree recipient, Jared Starkey. Prof. Dave O’Bannon, an alumnus and current School of Business instructor, gave the benediction. His son, Jake, was among those receiving master’s degrees.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Newman congratulated the graduates and, on behalf of the approximately 39,000 alumni serving around the world, welcomed them to the SNU Alumni Association. He gave the graduates an opportunity to stand and cheer for their family and friends, to thank them for the encouragement and support they provided to help them achieve this milestone in their life.

Dr. Newman concluded by saying, “We are looking forward to a lifelong relationship with many more times together, as we celebrate your successes and serve as a resource to you in the years to come. We pray God’s blessings on all your future endeavors.”

You can view the 2018 Winter Commencement at and click ‘On Demand’.