GU’s 115th Commencement Convocation


Press Release

May 18, 2012

GU's 115th Commencement Convocation

Graceland University will hold its 115th Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 20th in the Eugene and Julia Travis Closson Physical Education Center. Dr. Harry J. Ashenhurst, a 1970 Graceland alumnus, will deliver the commencement address.

There are a total of 648 graduates this year representing 39 majors. Twenty-two students earned both undergraduate and graduate level degrees. There are 295 Master’s degrees and 375 Bachelor’s degrees to be conferred. The graduates hail from 41 states and 14 countries.

Because of the Shaw Center construction project, Baccalaureate ceremonies will take place this year at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 19th at Community of Christ, 531 W. Main, Lamoni.

Dr. Ashenhurst has served as chair of the Outreach International board from 1994-2000, and from 2007 to the present. Outreach International is a humanitarian organization that currently works in 13 impoverished countries around the world, assisting hundreds of thousands of children, women and men to overcome the effects of poverty each year. There is a very active Outreach International student club on Graceland’s Lamoni campus. He is currently retired from Lennox International, Inc., where he spent nearly 20 years in a variety of executive management positions including Chief Administrative Officer and President/COO of International operations for over 20,000 employees worldwide. Prior to that, he worked with RHR International, a consulting firm working with major Fortune 500 corporations on a variety of management, organizational development and human resource issues.

Dr. Ashenhurst received a B.A. from Graceland, an M.A. from the University of Missouri in Counseling, an M.A. of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Counseling. He is a licensed psychologist in Texas, and a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

Dr. Ashenhurst will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Good friends of the university, Dave and Betty Nipper, of Ft. Myers, FL, will also be honored with Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. The Nippers have been steadfast supporters of Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland. The Nippers’ daughter, Laurie Nipper ’85 Heintz, a member of our Board of Trustees, will hood her parents and present the invocation.

The annual Nursing Recognition Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, May 18th, at Community of Christ Temple Sanctuary, 1001 W. Walnut, Independence, MO.

President John Sellars and first-lady Bette Sellars will host the annual President’s Reception for graduates and their guests at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 19th, in the Memorial Student Center. The Candle Lighting ceremony will follow at 9 p.m. on the Alumni Brick Plaza in front of the Higdon Administration Building.

Also at this year’s Commencement, Dr. Stephen Murdock, ’69, Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Pat Trachsel, ’64, Professor of Nursing, will be installed at Professors Emeriti.

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