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Joint graduation ceremony for Evangel University and AGTS to be held on May 4

Published on May 2, 2023 by Erin Hedlun

2022 EU graduates celebrate outside of Great Southern Arena.

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University and its seminary will host a joint graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

The 65th annual commencement ceremony for Evangel will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Great Southern Bank Arena (formerly JQH Arena) on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield.

The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary of Evangel University will celebrate its 50th annual commencement as part of the same ceremony. The two schools were consolidated in 2013 and combined their graduations in 2018.

The university will celebrate 579 graduates earning 24 doctoral, 154 master’s, 357 bachelor’s, and 44 associate’s degrees. The majority of the AAs are from Evangel’s James River College campus.

The top five bachelor-level majors graduating from Evangel in 2023 are Business Management, Biology, Psychology, Elementary Education, and Allied Health.

The graduation ceremony will be live-streamed at

Commencement speakers

Dr. Jon Spence, Evangel University’s chief academic officer and vice president for academic affairs, and Jon T. Spence, a content specialist in Evangel’s Marketing and Communications Department, will serve as the keynote commencement speakers. The theme for commencement is legacy.

Dr. Jon Spence, EU chief academic officer & vice president for academic affairs

Dr. Jon Spence

Dr. Jon Spence was named Evangel’s chief academic officer and vice president for academic affairs at the 2022 commencement ceremony. He previously served in the role in an interim capacity during the Spring 2022 semester, replacing Dr. Mike McCorcle.

Spence is a 1988 graduate of Evangel. His childhood was spent on campus as his father, the late Dr. Robert H. Spence, served as president of the university from 1974 through 2014.

He has been a member of the Evangel faculty since 1998 and has served in a variety of campus leadership roles. In addition to overseeing the Center for Student Success, Spence has been an instructor in Leadership Studies, a faculty advisor for the EU Scholars honors program, an academic consultant for the EU football team, advisor to Social Science student teachers, and served on various university committees.

In 2020, Spence was named a 2020 Icon of Education by Ingram’s Magazine for his servant leadership mindset and focus on educating the next generation of workforce leaders.

Spence holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from University of Missouri at Columbia, a Master of Science in Education Administration from Missouri State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Evangel.

Spence and his wife, Danica, have four children and reside in Nixa, Missouri.

Jon T. Spence, EU Marketing & Communication content specialist

Jon T. Spence

Jon T. Spence has served as the content specialist in Evangel’s Marketing and Communications Department since March 2022.

In this role, Spence writes the biannual alumni publication, “Evangel Magazine,” and develops promotional and recruitment content for the university and its various departments and colleges, including the Office of the President. He also hosts “ValorCast,” the official podcast of Evangel University.

In 2022, Spence led efforts to write the script for EU’s 30-minute episode of “The College Tour,” currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Spence is a 2019 graduate of Evangel, where he received his Bachelor of Science in English and Government. He is currently finishing a Master of Arts in Teaching from Missouri State University.

Following his graduation from Evangel, Spence worked as an editor at Global University, where he reviewed curriculum for the Berean School of the Bible, and at the Adult & Teen Challenge National Office as communications manager.

Spence and his wife, Lisa, reside in Springfield. They are active in their church, The Table Anglican Church, where Spence serves as the senior warden.




 About Evangel University

Evangel University, with its embedded Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Spirit-led Christian university located in Springfield, Missouri. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Under the leadership of Dr. Mike Rakes, EU is committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally and becoming compassionate innovators in their chosen vocations. EU offers more than 70 degree programs, including cutting-edge majors, pre-professional programs, and affordable and flexible online degree options.

EU is highly regarded and has been ranked:

  • US News & World Report Best Colleges Top Performer in Social Mobility
  • Colleges of Distinction Best Christian University
  • Top 10 Best Universities by
  • Third Most Beautiful Campus in the Midwest by Christian Colleges & Universities
  • Top 10 Best Colleges in Missouri by

With additional accreditations in business, counseling, music, social work, and theology and certification as an Excellence in Giving university, EU is focused on providing students with hands-on experience and real-world training for today’s professional careers. Learn more about the university at


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