Ouachita Baptist University will hold its 122nd annual spring commencement exercises on Saturday, May 9, at 9:30 a.m. on the lawn in front of Cone-Bottoms Hall. The ceremony will feature the debut of Ouachita’s university hymn and recognition of Judge John C. Ward as a distinguished alumnus.
Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr., initiated a process last year that led to the commissioning of a university hymn. An ad hoc committee comprised of Ian Cosh, assistant to the president for community development, Dr. Deborah Root, chair of the department of mass communications, and Dr. Rob Hewell, chair of the department of church music, oversaw the commissioning of the hymn.
The hymn, “See God’s Light,” features one stanza each focusing on the three words that appear on the university seal: vision, service and integrity. Stanza four is a summary proclamation of praise to God. The text was written by Dr. Terry W. York, a published hymnist, poet and author who is a professor at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas. The tune OUACHITA was written for this text by Rev. C. David Bolin, a published composer and music minister at First Baptist Church of Waco.
Dr. Tim Knight, J.D. Patterson Professor of Biology, will serve as the commencement marshal, and Dr. Troy D. Garlin, assistant professor of education, and Dr. Alex R. Nisbet, professor emeritus of chemistry, will serve as honorary marshals.
John Ward will be honored with a distinguished alumnus award, which is presented to those who have rendered outstanding service to the university, who have attained significant achievement in their field of endeavor and whose lives have reflected credit on Ouachita. Ward, a 1960 Ouachita graduate with a degree in speech, also is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. After a 24-year career as a trial lawyer, he was appointed Chancery Judge in 1988 and became a Circuit Judge in 1989. He has also served three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Ward and his wife, Mary Louise, reside in North Little Rock.
President Horne will preside over the commencement exercises. The ceremony will include remarks from Horne, an invocation by senior class vice president Jon Neal and scripture reading by Christian studies majors Casey Bushman, Labin Duke, Cameron Magby, Abby Martin, Hayden Tucker and Becca Woodall. Dr. Stan Poole, vice president for academic affairs, will confer degrees upon the graduates, and Richard Lusby, chairman of the Board of Trustees, will deliver the prayer of dedication.
A reception for the graduates and their families will be held in Grant Plaza immediately following the commencement exercises. In case of rain, the reception will move to the Ouachita Commons.