Hardin-Simmons University to Confer 269 Degrees Saturday


Hardin-Simmons University students walk the Behrens Auditorium stage Saturday, May 10, 2014, during two graduation ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Of the candidates for graduation, 217 students are earning bachelor’s degrees, 48 students are earning master’s degrees, and four students are earning doctorates.

Distinguished by gold honor cords, 85 students will be graduating cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Twelve students will be recognized for earning a perfect grade-point average and 20 spring graduates have been named to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. Six students are veterans who were eligible to receive Veterans Administration benefits, and four students are dependents of veterans.

In a much anticipated part of commencement, the recipients of four honors will be revealed. The awards are the Minnie L. Anderson Medal, presented to a senior female with three or more years in residence at Hardin-Simmons University who has excelled in character, personal development, and service to the university.

The George Skiles Anderson Medal is presented to a senior male with three or more years in residence at Hardin-Simmons who has excelled in character, personal development, and service to the university.

The Julius Olsen Medal is awarded to the student with the highest grade average who has exemplified the highest scholarly achievement and completed at least 90 semester hours of residence credit at HSU.

The Hemphill Graduate Honor Award recognizes a graduate student who has excelled in academic studies, possesses character and behavior consistent with the university’s purpose, and exhibits potential for significant contribution to his or her chosen field.

The names of the recipients are withheld prior to the announcement.

10 a.m. Convocation

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.

Giving the charge to the graduates will beJohn Neese, athletic director at Hardin-Simmons. He is responsible for overseeing the 18 men’s and women’s teams comprised of more than 400 student-athletes.

In his 17th year, Neese is the longest-serving athletic director in HSU history and has held the post longer than any other AD in the American Southwest Conference. Since his arrival in 1997, Hardin-Simmons has won 68 team ASC championships, more than any other conference school.

Academic excellence has been a priority for Neese as student-athletes have achieved a combined GPA of a 3.0 or higher for 19 of the last 20 semesters. His administration also saw the 2010 women’s soccer team become the first HSU team to win a Division III national championship.

During his service, program enhancements have included the Lou Morton Ellis Softball Field and John Crowe Fieldhouse, a new soccer field, a soccer practice field, and a soccer /track field house.

Facility upgrades include the renovation of Hunter Field, an upgrade to Sandefer Field House, renovations of the Mabee Complex, and a new track. Turf is currently being added to Shelton Stadium and construction of new tennis courts is expected to begin before the end of the year.

2 p.m. Convocation

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 College of Fine Arts.

Giving the charge to the graduates will be Mrs. Leta Tillman, professor and interlibrary loan librarian, who will be retiring after 13 years at HSU.

Tillman has reviewed close to 700 children’s books as she has overseen the HSU Richardson Library collection available to students in teacher preparation programs. Her published works are part of the Heart of Texas Literary Center journal Lorgnette.

In addition to her service at HSU, Tillman worked as an elementary school teacher in the Ft. Worth, Grand Prairie, and McAllen, Texas, school districts and served as a middle school librarian in Ft. Worth ISD.

Tillman earned a Master of Library Science at the University of North Texas, Denton, in 1994 and earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Howard Payne College in 1971.

She has taught freshmen in the Student Success Seminar classes at HSU for a number of years and has conducted library instruction sessions for students in the Irvin School of Education.

The theme of her charge to the graduates is Today is the End of Life as You Know It. Tillman said she will address the five most important things a graduate must know how to do.

Reception at Alumni Wall

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 new alums of HSU.


  • A Princeton Review Best Western College
  • Council for Christian Colleges & Universities  
  • Center for Student Opportunity: Promoting a College-Bound Culture
  • US News Best Colleges
  • Military Friendly
  • college_of_christian_distinction_badge20172018
  • College Choice Best Christian Colleges and University
  • University and College Accountability Network