Truett McConnell University holds on-campus graduation ceremonies


Graduates at Truett McConnell University sit according to social distancing recommendations at commencement services June 13. TMU/Special

CLEVELAND — Truett McConnell University (TMU) welcomed 130 bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates back to campus on Saturday, June 13 to take part in one of two commencement services held in the George Blaurock Student Wellness Center.

Since the pandemic began, graduate candidates were not sure if they would have the opportunity to walk across the stage for commencement. The service opened with an invocation by Board of Trustees member Dr. Matt Brady and TMU Director of Special Events David Eppling. President Emir Caner then welcomed families by saying, “As far as I know, we are the only university in Georgia to do an in-person graduation. The reason we do this is to celebrate them. This is going to be a special day that you will remember for many years.”

Although social distancing guidelines were practiced, and several modifications were made to accommodate the regulations, excitement remained high and the day was very special.

A charge from the president

Caner addressed both audiences by reading from John 5: 39, adding, “You have studied every discipline under the sun, but when you bowed your knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, you not merely bowed your knee, and your life, and your emotions, you bowed your mind to God’s Word–our source of authority in times of greatness and in times of need.”

The president concluded by holding up a Bible and charged graduates, as they leave TMU, to “trust this with your life, because it’s enough. It will get you through harder times than we’ve ever experienced over the last three months; it will get you through greater times than you’ve ever experienced with lifelong friends; and not only will it get you through, it will get you to heaven.”

Honoring of graduates

Dean of the Felix Manz School of Music Dr. Kenneth Gabrielse followed Caner’s address by leading the audience in the university hymn “God’s Word Stands Sure Forever” (words by Balthasar Hubmaier, adapted by Emir Caner and Nan Allen; music by Dennis Allen).

Director of Alumni Relations Dr. David Drake echoed blessings to each graduate and welcomed them into the TMU Alumni Association. Drake addressed graduates, stating, “As you leave Truett McConnell University as the class of 2020, may I remind you that you are an ambassador.”

“You see, my friends,” said Drake, “an ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or a promoter of a specific activity – or in this case, our institution. You are the face of Truett McConnell University in a world that needs to experience Christ. Therefore, be an ambassador.”

Vice President for Academic Services Dr. Brad Reynolds then presented the bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates to the president, who then awarded those candidates with their degree as they walked across the stage.

The 10 a.m. service confirmed degrees on graduates from The Peter and Gredel Walpot School of Education, The Hans Hut School of Business, The Michael Sattler School of Public Service, and The Balthasar Hubmaier School of Theology. The 2 p.m. service confirmed degrees upon graduates from The Martha Rielin and Elizabeth Salmen School of Nursing, The Leonhard Schiemer School of Psychology and Biblical Counseling, The Felix Manz School of Music, The Conrad Grebel School of The Humanities, and The Pilgram Marpeck School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

TMU Board of Trustees member Pastor Jerry Adair and Georgia Baptist pastor Dr. Morgan Kerr concluded the ceremonies with a benediction.

COVID-19, graduation, Truett McConnell University