Southern Wesleyan prepares for December graduation
Graduates, their family members and friends will gather at Southern Wesleyan University’s campus in Central on Dec. 9 and 11.
The speaker for the Dec. 9 graduation ceremony will be Dr. Colleen Keith, president of Spartanburg Methodist College since July of 2009. Prior to coming to SMC, she served as executive director of development at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Dr. Keith, a native of upstate New York, has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, in capacities such as student service roles, program development, teaching, fund raising and administration.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from State University of New York in Binghamton, a master’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University.
While at Ohio University, Keith also taught courses in the Master of Business Administration and Master of Communication degree programs at Franklin University. She previously taught in the freshman program at both The Ohio State University and Rogers State College.
Her academic career includes a decade at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio where her responsibilities as executive vice president included oversight for business and finance, operations, buildings and grounds, personnel and benefits offices, budget creation and management. As vice president for development at the Ohio Seminary, she led the staff in planning and implementing a $30 million campaign that surpassed its goal.
Keith and her husband, Barry, have a son who attends Miami University of Ohio.
The Dec. 11 morning and afternoon ceremonies will feature Dr. Phillip Baldwin, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church and founder of Bethlehem Christian Academy in Simpsonville, S.C. Baldwin is a native of Pittsboro, N.C., and is the eighth of nine children.
Baldwin earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from North Carolina A and T State University in Greensboro, N.C. Baldwin received his master of divinity degree from Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, S.C. He earned his doctorate of ministry degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
In 1992, Baldwin answered God’s call into the gospel ministry and was licensed by the Lowndes Hill Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. In 1993, he was called to serve as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Simpsonville. In 1996, Bethlehem moved into a new sanctuary with a seating capacity of more than 800. In 1997, Baldwin revealed the vision that God gave to him for Bethlehem to construct a Christian Life Center and Academy.
In 2004, Bethlehem moved into its 40,000 square foot Christian Life Center and Academy, which opened its doors for the first time in 2006. In 2009 Bethlehem Christian Academy and After School Program earned national accreditation. The Academy provides a comprehensive program of educational excellence for grades K4 through fifth grade. Bethlehem Baptist Church now has two worship services, more than 40 ministries, an after-school program, summer camp and a Christian academy.
Baldwin is involved in many denominational and community events and efforts. He is married to the former Wynell Harrison and they have a daughter, LaJasmine.
The December 2010 Graduation Exercises of Southern Wesleyan University will be held in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center on the Southern Wesleyan University campus in Central, S.C.
Students graduating from the university’s traditional program will participate in the ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m.
There will be two separate graduation ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 11, for students graduating from the university’s Adult and Graduate Studies programs. The 10 a.m. ceremony on Dec. 11 is for students earning associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees from the Central, Greenville, Greenwood and Spartanburg locations.
The 3 p.m. ceremony on Dec. 11 is for students earning associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees from the Columbia, Charleston and North Augusta locations.
The university expects to confer approximately 425 degrees, according to Registrar Rock McCaskill. For details, call Southern Wesleyan University’s Academic Records Department at (864) 644-5530. Tickets, issued through the university, are required for those attending the ceremonies on Dec. 11. For guests without tickets, overflow seating is available, which will allow guests without tickets to view the ceremony via a closed circuit broadcast. Details are available at http://www.swu.edu/academics/academic_records/graduation.htm.
Other end-of-semester events at Southern Wesleyan University include Baccalaureate Chapel on Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center. The baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by Rev. John Croft of Global Partners.
Croft grew up in the mission field in Suriname, South America, and the Cayman Islands. He received a bachelor’s degree in religious education from God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a master’s degree in Christian education from Indiana Wesleyan University.
He is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church, serving 10 years as pastor of the Falmouth Wesleyan Church in Falmouth, Ky. In 1994, He and his family pioneered the work of Global Partners and The Wesleyan Church in the Czech Republic. Over the course of 12 years, Croft ministered to the Czech people through teaching English as a second language, building and developing the Lighthouse Ministry Center and served for 10 seasons as the head football coach of the Brno Alligators, a semi-pro football team.
In 2006, Croft and his family returned to the United States to assume the position he currently holds as director of missionary funding with Global Partners. It is his purpose with Global Partners to better equip missionaries in the skills needed to build a healthy and faithful support team, allowing them to enjoy the process and arrive to the mission field energized.
Croft and his wife, Shanda, have three children: Travis, Brooke and Rachel.
The university’s Baccalaureate Chapel includes a “Ceremony of the Servants” and a challenge for graduates of the university to find ways to serve the needs of people throughout the world.
Southern Wesleyan University prepares students for leadership and graduate study in such fields as religion, education, music, business, medicine, law and a variety of civic and social service professions. Southern Wesleyan offers 41 degree programs in the areas of business, education and ministry. The university’s main campus is in Central and there are regional learning centers across South Carolina, in locations such as Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and North Augusta. Classes are also offered in Spartanburg and Greenwood.