Hardin-Simmons University students will cross the stage in Behrens Auditorium this Saturday, December 15, 2012, to pick up diplomas during two graduation ceremonies, one at 10 a.m. and another at 2 p.m.
Of the candidates for graduation, 129 are earning bachelor’s degrees, 66 will pick up master’s degrees, and 37 students of physical therapy will earn doctorates.
Of the fall graduates, 26 students have been named to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, and two students, Alexandra Hope Dockter, B.F.A. in art, from Abilene; and Sunil Guharajan, earning a B.S. in Biology, Malaysia, will graduate from the HSU Honors Program. Candice Webb, of Cisco, Texas, earning a B.B.S. in speech pathology, attained a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
During the 10 a.m. ceremony, degrees will be conferred to students graduating from the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts, the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics, the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, and the Logsdon School of Theology.
An honorary Doctor of Divinity degree will be awarded to Stephen Dale Stroope, during the morning ceremony. Stroope, a 1976 graduate, is pastor of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwell, Texas, which has grown from 53 members at its inception in 1979 to more than 11,000 today under Stroope’s leadership.
Giving the charge to the graduates will be Dr. Michael Whitehorn, senior vice president for student development for HSU. Whitehorn has served as a professor of English and as a professor of Leadership Studies; holds a B.S., 1965, in international affairs from the U.S. Air Force Academy; a master’s degree in English from the University of Denver; a master’s degree in counseling from Alabama State University; and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver.
Whitehorn has also been honored with a Bronze Star Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, and was elected Outstanding Religious Layperson in Montgomery, Alabama.
During the 2 p.m. commencement, degrees will be conferred to students in the Kelley College of Business, the Irvin School of Education, and the School of Music and Fine Arts.
Surprise awards will be bestowed on two students; the Winnie and D.M. Wiggins Medal will go to the student who has excelled in character, personal development, and academic achievement; and the Graduate Dean’s Award of Excellence will also be given to one outstanding graduate student.
Giving the charge to the graduates will be Dr. Shane Davidson, vice president for enrollment and marketing management at HSU. Davidson has also held a high profile in the Abilene community, serving as a school board member and volunteering his time to head a wide variety of education related committees. He has served as coach, a deacon for his church, and been recognized for his creativity, leadership, passion and drive.
Davidson graduated magna cum laude from Howard Payne University, earning a B.B.A. in 1992. He completed an M.B.A. in 1996 at Wayland Baptist, and an Ed.D. in 2005 at Baylor University.
He was named as an Abilene Reporter-News Top 20 under 40 leader in the Big Country in 1999, and named as a top community leader by the Career & Technology Association of Texas in 2011.
Immediately following both commencement ceremonies, the HSU Alumni Association will host an informal reception for graduates, friends, and faculty/staff at the Alumni Wall in Centennial Plaza, located just west of Behrens Auditorium. Graduates will find a replica of the plaque that will bear their name as a new graduate of HSU.