Williams Baptist College will hold its final commencement exercises under the title of “college” this Saturday, May 5. Last fall, WBC announced the name change to Williams Baptist University, and as the final student walks across the stage to receive the final Williams Baptist College diploma, WBC will take one more step in its transition to WBU.
With more than 90 students ready to receive their diplomas, the added significance of this year’s commencement is not lost on the graduating class.
“To be in the last class graduating class as Williams Baptist College is a surreal aspect to grasp,” said Makayla Marshall. “For me, it means that I can say I graduated from an amazing college that will now be an amazing university. We are at the end of something great, but it is only the beginning of something greater.”
Marshall is from Farmington, Mo., and will receive her degree in Christian ministries.
Fellow graduate Ryan Whittle echoed Marshall’s sentiments.
“I came to Williams expecting to just earn my degree and wrestle. Four years have now gone by and its incredible how much more God provided for me while here at WBC. I came as a part of WBC’s first ever wrestling program and then the first ever Greco-Roman program. So, it’s only fitting I get to be a part of WBC’s ‘last something,’ too,” he said.
Whittle is from Greenwich, Conn., and will receive his degree in health and physical education.
Williams graduates buy in to the mission and purpose of the institution, and often walk away with much more than a degree. While that foundation will remain unchanged, the class of 2018 will forever mark a turning point in Williams’s rich history.
“The history of Williams Baptist College is one of the main characteristics of the college, and to be etched into such a prolific background means something special to me. I will always be able to say that Williams Baptist College made a positive impact on my life before it was deemed Williams Baptist University,” added Alec Scott.
Scott is from Rector, Ark., and will receive his degree in business administration.
Saturday’s commencement will mark the institution’s final official ceremony as Williams Baptist College.
Graduation will begin at 10 a.m. in Williams’s Southerland-Mabee Center, and Dr. Sheri Midkiff will deliver the commencement address. Midkiff is retiring at the end of this semester after 43 years as an English professor at WBC.
Williams is a Christian, liberal arts university in Walnut Ridge.