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Joint graduation ceremony for Evangel University and AGTS to be held on May 5

Published on May 2, 2022 by Erin Hedlun

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University and its seminary will host a joint graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

The 64th 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 49th 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 536 graduates earning 31 doctoral, 95 master’s, 360 bachelor’s and 50 associate’s degrees. Most of the associate’s degrees are from Evangel’s James River College campus.

The top five bachelor-level majors graduating from Evangel in 2022 are Business Management, Elementary Education, Biology, Psychology, and Healthcare.

The graduation ceremony will be live-streamed at

Commencement speaker

 Dr. Mike Rakes, Evangel University’s president and a CBC (‘85) and AGTS (‘93) alum, will serve as the keynote commencement speaker.

Rakes was unanimously elected president of Evangel University in 2021, replacing the late Dr. George O. Wood. Wood served as interim president following the retirement of Dr. Carol A. Taylor in 2020.

Rakes’ first year as EU president saw several major upgrades to enhance the spatial core of campus, totaling over $2 million, including LED screens for the chapel, new outdoor basketball courts, and a revitalization of the student union.

Under Rakes’ leadership, the university raised over $9 million this academic year, setting a record for the highest giving total to date.

Previous to his EU presidency, Rakes and his wife, Darla, served as co-pastors of Winston Salem First (WSF) for 15 years. Rakes also served as the vice president for student development at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL, from 2000-2006 and as chair of its Practical Ministry Department from 1993-1999.

“Dr. Rakes’ life and ministry are a testament to his commitment to helping others fulfill their God-given calling. His investment in the lives of students at Evangel University will help build a brighter future,” Rev. Doug Clay, Evangel University trustee and general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said at the time of Rakes’ hiring.

Rakes recently released his second book, “Surrendered and Unafraid: The Flourishing of Faith During Seasons of Suffering,” available on Amazon, Kindle, and as an audio book. His first book, “Slings & Stones: How God Works in the Mind to Inspire Courage in the Heart,” was published in 2015.

The Rakes have a daughter, Whitney, who served as worship pastor at WSF until her passing in 2019 at the age of 27 after a courageous battle with cancer. They also have a son, Brayden, who is married to Heather, and two grandchildren, Blake and Beau.


About Evangel University

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master and doctoral degrees