On a beautiful Saturday morning in Franklin Springs, 150 Emmanuel College graduates turned their tassels as 1,700 family members and friends joined them to celebrate this significant accomplishment in their lives at the John W. Swails Center on graduation day, May 11, 2013.
- Valedictorians for the Class of 2013 are Melinda Sessoms (baccalaureate) and Nichole M. Grizzle (associates).
- Faculty awards went to Rachel Fenters and April Toney.
- The Presidential Award of Merit went to Coach Mike Bona, who surpassed 600 wins in 2012-13 in EC Women’s Basketball.
- The Dorothy Ferguson-Caddell Support Staff Award went to Guy Chapman, EC’s media services director.
- The Brady Faculty Award went to Dr. Brian Peek, EC’s Natural Sciences Department Chair.
- The Firebaugh Memorial Faculty Award went to Dr. Scott Ellington, SCM professor.
- President Michael Stewart recognized a new endowed scholarship named for the Rev. Richard F. and Maxine Brown Elliot Memorial Scholarship in memory of Rev. and Mrs. Elliot, who graduated from Emmanuel in the 1940s.
When President Stewart addressed the graduates, he encouraged them to always keep a Christ-centered focus throughout life, to continue growing in their faith, and never stop learning.
“We know many of you personally, and we will miss each of you on our campus,” he said. “Now a page is turning, and your destiny is calling. Embrace it and fulfill it. I commend to you the words from Micah 6:8, ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ That is my prayer for you, and please know you will continue to be in our prayers in the days to come."
This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. A.D. Beacham Jr., the 19th Presiding Bishop of the IPHC. On behalf of EC’s Board of Trustees, President Stewart presented Bishop Beacham with an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Ministries from Emmanuel College. When he graduated from Emmanuel in 1969, EC only awarded associate degrees.
As Bishop Beacham addressed the graduates, he quoted John 15:16 where Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” He reminded them they were created for a purpose. “You will be called to do things you do not feel prepared for. If God calls you, do it.”
He told them about a student who thought he could make a good grade in a class even though he rarely attended. He realized a big paper was due and crammed to get it done. "The professor wrote in the margin, 'Great paper, wrong assignment.' I don't care how successful you become; I don't care if you're the next Bill Gates. If you don't get God's assignment, you missed it!"