Friday, May 17 will serve as a monumental day in the lives of students who just graduated from The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville. Joined by their family, friends, faculty, trustees, and staff in the BCF Wellness Center, they celebrated the years of hard work, diligent study, and intense determination that has been put into fulfilling all of the requirements to earn their college degree.
With heart-pounding excitement, graduating seniors entered through the double-doors while the BCF College Winds played "Pomp and Circumstance" under the direction of Professor Ron Branning. Following the traditional processional, the invocation was offered by BCF Graduate and Trustee Shelly Chandler, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Bonifay. Following hymn favorite, "Crown Him with Many Crowns," led by BCF Music and Worship Division Chair Bill Davis, BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen welcomed campus visitors with deep expressions of thankfulness for their tremendous support and encouragement to the graduating class. Kinchen also welcomed full-time Psychology Professor Todd Hardin as he signed the traditional articles of faith, noting that the first faculty member to sign the articles was in 1965.
Following the skillful rendition of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" by the College Choir, Kinchen addressed the graduates with an encouraging message referencing Psalm 139. "What next? All of the uncertainty is just that uncertain; but we know the one who is certain," stated Kinchen. He told graduates to remember that "My God and your God knows the end and the beginning. He goes before and behind and places His blessings on us! Our God knows everything, Our God created everything and our God is everywhere."
The graduating class was presented by BCF Academic Dean Robin Jumper just after confirmation by the BCF Registrar Stephanie Orr and affirmation of the faculty. Final approval was then granted by Kinchen as seniors walked across the stage with joy to accept their diplomas. Family, friends, and the BCF staff and faculty who have poured into these students cheered as the new college graduates finally received the credentials they had labored for. The 2019 spring graduating class included two students who received associate degrees, forty other students earning their bachelor's degrees, and two master's degree recipients, including Kinchen's daughter Lisa Kinchen, making it an exciting day of celebration for the entire class. Graduates were then instructed to move their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the final official act of graduation.
After a thunderous applause, the audience joined the faculty, staff, and graduates in singing the BCF college hymn, "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" followed by the inspiring and deeply personal benediction from BCF Graduate and Trustee Jeff Stading, Pastor of New Home Baptist Church in Perry, Fla., and husband of graduating senior Adeena Stading.
Graduates exited the building with diplomas in hand to commemorate the day by taking pictures with their family, friends, and professors. Many of the graduates have finalized their plans for the future with several entering seminary or graduate school and others beginning works in positions of ministry, missions, music, education, business, and psychology. This generation of BCF graduates have been trained, equipped, and prepared to set the example in pursuing the call of "Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word.®"
For more information on the next graduation or to learn more about the degrees offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.