SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Following a survey of more than 500 spring graduates of Evangel University and its seminary, officials have rescheduled the Commencement 2020 ceremony to Saturday, August 15. The change is due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.
According to President Carol A. Taylor, “We had an 84% response rate to the survey, and of those who responded, 84% prefer a traditional Commencement postponed until August.”
The 62nd Annual Commencement for Evangel will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the Central Assembly auditorium, 1301 N. Boonville in Springfield, Missouri.
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary of Evangel will celebrate its 47th Annual Commencement as a part of the same ceremony. The two schools were consolidated in 2013 and combined their graduations in 2018.
The speaker will be 1976 Evangel graduate Steve Grant, an Emmy Award winning journalist and highly-regarded news anchor at KY3, the NBC affiliate for the Springfield metro area. In addition, Steve currently serves as president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Mid-America Chapter.
The Commencement 2020 ceremony will be live-streamed at https://www.evangel.edu/commencement/
Celebrating the students
More than 500 graduates will be honored this year for earning doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees from Evangel University.
“It was so moving and inspiring to read the comments of our 2020 graduates, as they finished their final semester remotely, missing their classmates and all of the last semester events and farewells,” said President Taylor (see samples in sidebar).
“While delayed, we are pleased to welcome our graduates back to campus with their families and friends to celebrate them in August,” she said. “Yes, we applaud their academic and other achievements, but the real celebration is the extraordinary men and women that we have been honored to serve and get to know. Each graduate has a story with a chapter that includes Evangel University.”
All Commencement 2020 related services and celebrations have also been moved to August, according to President Taylor.
• The College of Adult & Graduate Studies will hold its Baccalaureate & Awards Ceremony on Thursday, August 13, at 7 p.m. in Evangel’s Spence Chapel. A reception will follow.
• The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary of Evangel University will hold its Baccalaureate & Awards Ceremony on Friday, August 14, at 10 a.m. in the Seymour Chapel at AGTS.
• The traditional undergraduate students will then have their Baccalaureate & Awards Ceremony on Friday at 2 p.m. in Evangel’s Spence Chapel.
• A picnic celebration for all graduates and their families will be held on the Quad on Friday at 5 p.m.
Commencement 2020 speaker — Steve Grant
Steve Grant began his broadcast career at KY3 in 1974, while he was still a student at Evangel, thanks to a push from Dr. Nonna Dalan, professor of speech.
For decades, he anchored the #1-rated morning news show on the entire NBC network. He currently serves as the noon and evening anchor for KY3, with simulcasts on KSPR, the local ABC affiliate.
Steve has exhibited a heart of compassion for the poor through his work with The Kitchen Homeless Shelter, with which he was an original board member, the Springfield (Sheltered) Workshop’s board of trustees, and other civic, religious and charitable organizations.
In 2010, he was honored by the Evangel University Alumni Association with its Distinguished Alumnus Award, and in 2014, he was one of the first five members of the EU Communication Department Wall of Fame.
Steve and and his wife, Stephanie, are both Evangel graduates. She earned a Master of Organizational Leadership degree from the University in 2009.
Evangel University, which includes AGTS, is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel serves more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.
SIDEBAR: Here are a few of the comments from graduates that were so moving
- “I really want the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive my degree from Dr. Taylor. I have been looking forward and working extremely hard to reach that goal. The thought of not getting to do that devastates me. I put myself through college on my own, and it was the hardest 4 years of my life. I want to be able to show myself how worth it was and show everyone else that with God’s grace I achieved my goal!” (Traditional Undergraduate graduate)
- “All four years at Evangel, I have worked hard to get to this point. My freshman year, we received a tassel as a reminder of what to look forward to in the future and not to give up when it gets hard. I would like to think that we deserve to get to celebrate all we have accomplished together with our friends and family and classmates. I should be able to walk across the stage proud of what we have done. Our time at Evangel has been filled with precious moments. Please don’t take away the opportunity of another one. Thank you.” (Traditional Undergraduate graduate)
- “I was the first person in my family to attend college. This is a monumental moment, not just for the graduates, but for their families as well. I made some very deep connections with fellow classmates, and I’d like to be able to cheer them on and support them in person before they enter this next season in their life. It’s a rarity to have so many passionate Christ followers in one place from all over the world, and I know that for some people, this will be possible the last time that I see them in person. I want to be united in the flesh one last time to show despite everything that happened this year, we stand strong together and under a powerful God.” (Traditional Undergraduate graduate)
- “I am a 56-year-old adult studies grad who started my college degree in 1982. Life’s circumstances have led me on a journey to completing my degree this past December 2019. It has always been a life-long goal to complete what I had started long ago and to physically walk the platform to receive my diploma. I am completely willing to wait for that moment.” (Adult Studies graduate)
- “I think there’s something very special about meeting in person for a ceremony even if it is postponed to a later time. Many of us have waited 2-3 long years some even more, to accomplish what we have. We want to be able to celebrate with our professors, mentors, family, and friends, what God has done for us. A few months of waiting will not hurt! Thank you for bringing us into the decision-making process. I appreciate your hard work in keeping us safe as well as wanting to do what is best for the entire graduating class! Blessings!” (AGTS graduate)