BCF News 2021


"Never, never, never settle for normal. If you do, don't tell anyone you graduated from The Baptist College of Florida," chuckled BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen during his motivating and inspirational commencement address to the graduating seniors of the Fall 2021 class. The graduation ceremony was held on December 10, in the BCF Wellness Center located on the beautiful Graceville campus. The campus courtyard was filled with excitement as family, friends, faculty, and staff arrived early, many traveling from great distances, to celebrate the momentous pinnacle of hard work, sacrifice, diligent study, and dedication the graduating seniors put into fulfilling the requirements for their degree.

It was a joyous celebration as graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. Families and friends lined the aisle as the Jazz Band conducted by BCF Professor Ronald Branning played "Pomp and Circumstance." Following the traditional processional, the invocation was given by Roger Richards, the John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History, Curator of the Florida Baptist Archives, and Professor of History and Christian Studies. After the warm heartfelt invocation, BCF Music and Worship Division Chair Bill Davis led those attending in the great hymn favorite, "How Great Thou Art."

Kinchen welcomed guests and recognized family members who played such an important role in the lives and success of the graduates assembled. Kinchen also recognized and presented an Honorary Doctorate in Christian Letters degree to Dr. James (Jim) Henry; a highly respected leader of Southern Baptist, Florida Baptist, and The Baptist College of Florida. Before Kinchen offered the compelling commencement address from Luke 5:1-11 about "Let's go fishing...," the BCF College Singers performed the beautiful anthem, "Here I Am, Lord." 

Following the message and confirmation by the BCF Registrar Stephanie Orr and faculty, BCF Academic Dean Robin Jumper presented the graduates to Kinchen for final approval. Once approval was granted, the senior's names were called out one-by-one as they received their degree from Kinchen. Family and friends clapped and cheered as the new college graduates obtained their degrees and could finally appreciate and celebrate all of their hard work.

Graduates were then instructed to turn their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the final official act of graduation. After the thunderous applause for the graduates, the audience joined the faculty, staff, and new alumni in singing the BCF college hymn, "Tell Me the Story of Jesus." Following a compassionate benediction by Jim Henry, the beloved former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, the Jazz Band played the recessional piece, "Sine Nomine and then Oh, Happy Day" as the graduates left with diplomas in hand, excited for the future. The entire ceremony was a celebration of the academic accomplishments of the new graduates as they embarked on "Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®.”

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