Williams Baptist College awarded degrees to 102 graduates during its 2017 commencement exercises Saturday, May 13. The graduates represented 31 Arkansas counties, 10 states and three nations.
A crowd of over 1,000 filled WBC’s Southerland-Mabee Center for the ceremony. The commencement address was delivered by U.S. Senator John Boozman, and graduating senior Alexus Clardy of Conway, Ark., spoke on behalf of the class of 2017.
Professor Jerry Gibbens was honored for completing 50 years of service to WBC. Gibbens, professor of English and chair of the division of arts and sciences, was presented a medallion in honor of the occasion, and Williams President Dr. Tom Jones announced that the commons area of WBC’s Maddox Center is to be named Gibbens Atrium starting this fall.
Dalton Freshour of Pomona, Mo., was recognized as the graduate with highest honors, having earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Honor graduates were recognized as being cum laude (3.5-3.69 cumulative grade point average), magna cum laude (3.7-3.84 GPA) or summa cum laude (3.85-4.0 GPA).
Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. WBC graduates from Arkansas, listed by county, included:
Baxter County – Mountain Home: Taylor R. Williams (cum laude).
Benton County – Rogers: Javier Piedra, Diego Santillan.
Boone County – Harrison: Mathew Bell, Abby Webb.
Clay County – Corning: Kirby Curtis (cum laude). Knobel: Holly Stormes (magna cum laude). Piggott: Kelsey McKenney (Coe Scholar, magna cum laude), Mallory Wright (summa cum laude). Rector: Margie Brown (cum laude), Daniel White.
Cleburne County – Quitman: Alexis Ingram (summa cum laude).
Columbia County – Magnolia: Brianna Warner (Coe Scholar, summa cum laude).
Craighead County – Bono: Adam Lowry (cum laude). Brookland: Spencer Elder. Jonesboro: Ethan Abbott, Cheyenne Ballow, Steven Ballow, Gala Dennis (cum laude), Amanda Gifford, Kitiara Herring, Emily Medley. Monette: Elizabeth Boling.
Crittenden County – Earle: Josh Blansett (magna cum laude).
Cross County – Wynne: Chelsea Clarkson (Coe Scholar, summa cum laude).
Faulkner County – Conway: Alexus Clardy (magna cum laude).
Fulton County – Mammoth Spring: Deniece Byers.
Garland County – Hot Springs: Marleigh Norris. Pearcy: Shayna Beck.
Grant County – Sheridan: Garrett Williams.
Greene County – Marmaduke: Morgan Hawley. Paragould: Jessica Baugh, Ryan Cupp, Shana Cupp, Sara Gramling, Kyle Roden (magna cum laude), Noah Stoddard, Blake Tyler, Nathaniel Wogoman.
Hot Spring County – Malvern: Kayla Songer.
Independence County – Batesville: Hannah Medley.
Jackson County – Newport: E. J. Rucker.
Jefferson County – White Hall: Alexandrea Files.
Lawrence County – Black Rock: Stacy Weldon. Clover Bend: Emily Freer. Hoxie: Raven Chronister, Seth Hart. Imboden: Maigen Rogers, Demi Stephens (magna cum laude). Portia: Brandi Bookout (Coe Scholar, cum laude). Powhatan: Whitney M. Meeks. Smithville: Keith McAnally (summa cum laude). Walnut Ridge: Jessie Berry, Holly Looney, Brittney Pinkston (cum laude), Deana Quarry (cum laude).
Lonoke County – Cabot: Andrew Billingsley.
Mississippi County – Osceola: Ron Robinson.
Poinsett County – Waldenburg: Tyler Ball.
Pulaski County – Little Rock: Brandon Cross.
Randolph County – Maynard: Taylor Cox-Tuer, James Ewing. Pocahontas: Krystal Borreson, Brittany Grooms, Samantha Poe (cum laude), Spencer Thielemier, Angela Vitale, Olivia Wogoman.
Saline County – Benton: Colton Babbitt, Tessa Babbitt (Coe Scholar, magna cum laude). Bryant: Brooke Howell.
Sebastian County – Greenwood: Erika Campbell.
Sharp County – Cave City: Vonda Slagley.
St. Francis County – Forrest City: Samantha Kearns (magna cum laude).
Union County – Junction City: Dylan Disotell.
Van Buren County – Clinton: Lanie Walsh (cum laude).
Washington County – Farmington: Ethan Risley (cum laude). West Fork: Gabby Dixon (cum laude).