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BCF Press Release



December 10, 2018

Press Photo

Fall 2018 Graduating Class. First Row (L-R): Dr. Kinchen (President), Amanda Carnley (Marshal), Kindsey Norman, Elizabeth Boss, Kayla Gant, Kristina Jones, Lindsay Hammond, Shannon Harmon, Alexandria Carter, Angela Schneckloth, Ariel Wade, Stacey Andongo, Michelle Goodwin, Leah Fernandez, Patricia Lally, Will Toumey (Marshall), Dr. Robin Jumper Second Row (L-R): Ryan West, Roland Youmans, Michael Hilliard, Lance Bourne, Dillion Rykard, John McCrillis, James Spears, Cameron Adams Third Row (L-R): Jared Buchanan, Micaiah Johnston, Bradley Price, Kyle Kilpatrick, Ronald Neal Potter, Austin Lay, Ryan Gant

Though the chilly morning of December 7 was just a regular day for many people, it was a memorable one for graduating seniors at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville. Together with their family, friends, and their BCF family, seniors gathered in the BCF Wellness Center to celebrate the completion of degree requirements and acknowledge years of sacrifice and diligent study.

The ceremony began with thirty-eight excited graduating seniors marching down the center aisle as the BCF College Winds played "Pomp and Circumstance" under the direction of Professor Ron Branning. Following the traditional processional, Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry Lance Beauchamp offered the invocation, asking God to bless this time and that it would be for His glory alone. BCF Music and Worship Division Chair Bill Davis then led the congregation in the classic hymn, "In Christ Alone."

After recognizing the essential role that the support and prayers of family and friends has on the academic career of every graduate, BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen expressed his deepest gratitude and provided a warm welcome. During the moving time of recognition, new Professor Hannah Strickland was asked to join Kinchen to sign the "Articles of Faith" book signifying her commitment to the Lord, the institution, and to training the next generation of students that will attend BCF.

The audience's attention was then directed towards the BCF College Singers as they performed an awe-inspiring rendition of "Let Your Light Shine" under the leadership of Professor Buford Cox. Kinchen took the podium once again to address the graduates. He referred to scripture in 2 Corinthians 4, reminding graduates that, though they will face opposition, accusers, and many who will misjudge their motives, they carry the very treasure of God with them and are to be "faithful, proactive witnesses to the life changing power of Jesus Christ in a dark and hurting world."

BCF Academic Dean Robin Jumper officially presented the graduating class following confirmation by the registrar and affirmation of the faculty. Final approval was then given by Kinchen as seniors walked across the stage and accepted their diplomas. Family and friends cheered as the new college graduates received their well-earned credentials and finally saw all of their hard work come to fruition. The 2018 fall graduating class included three students who received associate degrees, thirty-three earning their bachelor's degrees, and two master's degree recipients, making it a momentous day for the entire class.

It was an especially meaningful occasion for two families, as they watched not one, but two graduates cross the stage. Husband and wife team Ryan and Kayla Gant, who met, were married, and had a child during their time at BCF, celebrated the completion of their education programs together. Sisters Ariel Wade and Stacey Andongo came in together as roommates in the fall 2014 semester and now finish together, both with degrees in Business Leadership. It was also a particularly unique graduation ceremony for Kinchen, as he proudly handed his grandson, Neal Potter, his degree with a big hug and great joy. Another special moment of recognition came to one graduate, Yvonne Mestre, as she watched the ceremony on Facebook Live from her hospital bed.

Graduates were directed to turn their tassels from right to left, representing the final act of graduation. After an enthusiastic and merited round of applause for the new graduates, the audience joined the faculty, staff, and new alumni in singing the BCF college hymn, "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" followed by the benediction given by BCF alumnus and Professor of Education Hannah Strickland.

Accompanied by the BCF College Winds, graduates departed the Wellness Center with diplomas in hand and eager anticipation for the future that lies ahead of them. Though the ceremony was meant for celebrating and acknowledging how far the graduates have come, the fall 2018 class has so much potential as they embark on the new adventure of "Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®" that awaits them. Many of The Baptist College of Florida graduates will continue their education by attending seminary or graduate school while others have already begun working and serving in their respective degree fields.

For more information regarding the next graduation, or to learn more about the ample degree opportunities offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please visit www.baptistcollege.edu or contact 850-263-3261.