Dr. Robert E. Picirilli and Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr. will address the Welch College class of 2018, according to President Matt Pinson. Robert Picirilli, professor emeritus and former academic dean at Welch College, will present the baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening, May 10, at 7:00. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) will address the graduates at the 10:00 a.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11.
Picirilli, professor emeritus at Welch College, taught New Testament and philosophy at Welch, serving long-term as Academic Dean. He is author of Free Will Revisited and numerous other books and journal articles. He is also the editor of the Randall House Bible Commentary series. Picirilli served as president of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges and moderator of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
Pressnell has spent over thirty years in higher education administration, serving as president of TICUA since 2000. In 2003 the United States Senate appointed Pressnell to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, of which he served as Vice Chair from 2007 until his second and final term expired in 2008. In 2017 Pressnell was approached by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to consider being appointed as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education. Pressnell respectfully declined the offer in order to remain in Tennessee and continue his work with TICUA.
Pressnell serves on numerous international, national, and state-level boards. He also has served as an international advisor on higher education reform to foreign governments in the Middle East, South Asia, the Balkan region of Europe, and South America.
President Matt Pinson said, “This is such an important occasion for the entire college family, and especially for the graduating seniors. Commencement week always brings us face-to-face with our mission as a college—to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world through biblical thought and life. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have two such excellent speakers address the graduating class, and we hope that you will join us in this special time of celebration.”