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Welch Lady Flames Basketball Team Recognized by the NCCAA

Welch College Athletic Director Greg Fawbush recently announced the Lady Flames basketball team was recognized by the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) as a Scholar team for collectively achieving a 3.66 team GPA for the spring semester. Teams must have a GPA of at least a 3.40 to earn this recognition.

The college offers its congratulations to Coach Katie Bryan and team members Kyra Anderson, Macey Bowman, Abby Bragg, Madison Carnes, Kendal Ryan, Olivia Ryan, Savannah Scott, Emma Wall, and Lauren Weese.

“This is a great accomplishment for the Lady Flames basketball program,” Coach Fawbush said. “Being a student and athlete requires discipline and attention to details. This recognition shows that Coach Bryan and the Lady Flames both embrace the core values of the athletic program and represent Welch College as they seek to become Christian leaders to serve Christ, His church, and His world through biblical thought and life.”

Welch College Hires Jesse Owens as Faculty Member in the Divinity School

Welch College recently hired Dr. Jesse F. Owens to serve as a full-time faculty member in the newly formed Welch Divinity School, according to Provost Matthew McAffee.

A Welch 2010 graduate in pastoral ministry, Owens received the M.Div. (2013) and Ph.D. (2021) degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  Since 2016 Owens has worked in the college’s facilities department managing lawncare operations. In addition to this maintenance management role, Owens has served as an adjunct instructor in the areas of theology and history.

Also in 2016, he led the efforts to start Immanuel Free Will Baptist Church, a new church plant in the Gallatin area, which he will continue to pastor on a part-time basis. Prior to his arrival at Welch, Owens served as senior pastor at First Free Will Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, from 2014 to 2016.

“Dr. Owens comes to this role from a long line of Free Will Baptist ministers,” McAffee said. “His father, Rev. Frank Owens, currently pastors the Sylvan Park Free Will Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, and his grandfather, Rev. Guy Owens, has pastored numerous churches throughout the decades of his ministry service among Free Will Baptists.”

“Dr. Owens has demonstrated success in the classroom as an adjunct instructor for the last five years,” McAffee continued. “He has already established an excellent reputation among faculty peers and students. His academic credentials are just what we need as we launch our new M.Div. program. I believe he has promise as a young Free Will Baptist scholar who will serve our denomination well and contribute to the Reformed Arminian cause.”

Owens will begin his faculty responsibilities as Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology. His primary area of focus will be teaching theology courses for the newly formed M.Div. degree, as well as undergraduate courses as needed. As part of his faculty responsibility, he will serve as acting director of the Christian Service program, a role that appropriately overlaps with his ministry experience.

President Matt Pinson said, “It’s unusual to find a faculty member who combines pastoral and church planting experience, high marks from students in classroom teaching, hands-on experience and a hard work ethic proven in a staff role, and such promise as a publishing scholar—all in one person. Jesse fits this profile to a tee, and we’re so delighted to have him move onto the full-time faculty of the new venture of Welch Divinity School.”

Owens is married to his wife Tiffany, a 2009 Welch graduate and native of Turbeville, South Carolina. They have two young children, Gavin and Carter.

For more information about the residential M.Div. degree or the online M.A. degree in Theology and Ministry, please contact Dr. Martin Sheldon (divinity@welch.edu).

Welch and Union Celebrate Graduates of the First Traditional B.S.N. Cohort

Welch College and Union University Hendersonville celebrated the first graduates of the 2 + 2 Bachelor’s in Nursing (B.S.N.) program Thursday night, May 12, at the Welch campus, according to Dr. Ian Hawkins, Program Coordinator for the Biology Program at Welch. Six students graduated May 15 at Union’s main campus in Jackson, Tennessee, as part of the first cohort of the partnership: Kandace Ailworth, Riley Bell, Jake Gates, Maggie Parrish, Meredith Parrish, and Alexis Saunders.

The six graduates have earned high marks and awards. One served as a Tennessee Student Nursing Association representative and two were named members of the nursing honors society Sigma Theta Tau. All six graduates have already obtained positions in their field. These students were recognized for their accomplishments as faculty and administration from both institutions took part in a dinner and program.

“This 2 + 2 program was originally created with the help of Dr. Greg Ketteman and Dr. Charles Lea from Welch College and Dr. Kelly Harden, Dr. Allison Davis, and Dr. Leann Wilhite from Union’s nursing school,” Hawkins said. “It’s designed to have students complete their first two years at Welch as they earn an associates degree and can use Tennessee Promise funding. Then students continue to Union’s Hendersonville campus to finish their last two years of the program and earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing from Union University.

This program has received financial support from local hospitals, especially Sumner Regional Medical Center. It is the only traditional B.S.N. program in Sumner County.

“Family and friends were present to congratulate the graduates for their hard work especially during COVID-19,” Hawkins said. “These students endured changes in clinical assignments and worked throughout their time. We’re so proud of these graduates of this program that will continue to fulfill the mission to send out well-trained nurses to serve in their communities and to love and care for their patients.”

For more information on nursing at Welch, contact Dr. Ian Hawkins at ihawkins@welch.edu.

Coffman Hall on Welch College Campus - a Christian Bible College in Gallatin, Tennessee

Welch College Graduates 68 in Class of 2021 in Commencement Exercises

Welch College conferred degrees on 68 graduates for the class of 2021 and recognized 26 recipients of degrees from the class of 2020 on Friday, May 7, according to Provost Matthew McAffee.

The college held two commencement ceremonies in the Student Activities Center. Attendees for both ceremonies were scaled back owing to COVID-19 social distancing protocols. Both ceremonies accommodated additional guests with overflow seating for livestream coverage in Celorio Auditorium.

During the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, the institution awarded all bachelor’s degrees to the Class of 2021. In the 2:00 p.m. ceremony, the college granted associate’s and master’s degrees for graduates of 2021 and recognized participants from the graduating Class of 2020.

Dr. Steve Lemke, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Provost Emeritus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the commencement address for both ceremonies. He challenged graduates to pursue their vocational aspirations as a spiritual calling. All graduates, regardless of major, he said, are being sent out on mission to make a difference in the world for the kingdom of Christ.

President Matt Pinson recognized Dr. Ron Callaway on his retirement from the faculty, the longest-serving Missions/Intercultural Studies professor in the colleges’s history. The president also recognized Dr. Thurman Pate, former chair of the Teacher Education Department, for his retirement from the faculty in May 2020. Other retiree recognitions included long-time Christian Service director Mr. John Murray, who served three decades in this post after missionary service; former director of online studies Mr. Allan Crowson, former director of cleaning operations Mr. Ernie Thomson; and Special Assistant to the President Dr. Charles Lea.

The college commends to you and to the work of the Lord the members of the 2021 and 2020 graduating classes.

Class of 2021

Associate of Science Degrees

Laura Ann Boivin
Gallatin, TN
Early Childhood

Lee Ann Branch
Darlington, SC
Business

Katelynn Grace Chandler
De Soto, MO
Biology

Rebekah Elaine Ammini Chapman
Hannibal, MO
Biology

Julianna Celeste Foster
Hendersonville, TN
Biology

Kelli Savannah Kelly
Fayette, Alabama
Business

Halle Beth Lewis
Norman, OK
Biology

Shelby Louise Owens
La Vergne, TN
Biology

Ashleigh Marlene Sage
Wilson, NC
Biology

Lillian Claire Simpson
Hendersonville, TN
Biology

Kalena Elaine Taylor
Dover, TN
Teacher Education for Early Childhood

Naomi Duran Vazquez
Bethpage, TN
Biology

Associate of Arts Degrees

Loren Danielle Craig
Hermitage, TN
Teaching

Joy Faith Green
Pleasant Shade, TN
Teaching

Abigail Lynn Myers
Flat Rock, MI
Teaching

Bachelor of Science Degrees

Emily Elizabeth Abel*
Hendersonville, TN
Child Development and Learning

Justice J. Alameda
Chattanooga, TN
Psychology

Catherine Rose Blades***
Cedar Hill, TN
Biology

Kenae Ashley Briggs
Chesterfield, VA
Psychology

Adam William Brown***
Eldorado, IL
Theological Studies

Mikaela Deanna Bullard**
Virginia Beach, VA
Psychology

Blake Christopher Chandler***
Westmoreland, TN
Business Administration

Makenzie Grace Crain*
Portland, TN
Psychology

Michaela Roshele Easley***
Dickson, TN
Early Childhood

James Wilson Gates
Pleasant View, TN
Exercise Science

Hannah Katherine Gorrell**
Scott Depot, WV
Biology Education

Allyson Kate Greenwood*
Nashville, TN
Elementary Education

Stacey Young Haralson
Nashville, TN
Theological Studies

Rachel DeAnn Hastings
Owasso, OK
Business Administration

Kelsey Renee Horton**
Ashland City, TN
Child Development and Learning

Bryan Thomas Houser***
Chesterfield, VA
Music Performance

Jami Miranda Howell**
Chipley, FL
Psychology

Daniel Elmore Hunter*
Tuscaloosa, AL
Biology

Margaret Grace Jackson
Algood, TN
Theological Studies

Tyler Jordan Justice
Greenville, NC
Business

Samuel Arden Lane*
Bluff City, TN
Psychology

John Andrew McClure
Pleasant View, TN
Music Performance

Destinee Autumn Payne***
Box Elder, SD
Child Development and Learning

Jonathan McGuire Payne***
Ina, IL
Theological Studies

Ashlee Rose Presley*
Oak Ridge, TN
Psychology

Laurel Madelyn Woodis Pruitt**
White House, TN
Child Development and Learning

Elaine Taylor Park Pugh*
Gallatin, TN
Psychology

Kendal Lee Ryan***
Ina, IL
English, Secondary Education

Ashley Rae Sammons
Westerville, OH
Psychology

Jim Bryson Taylor
Roan Mountain, TN
Theological Studies

William Garry Walker*
Spruce Pine, AL
Theological Studies

Rebecca Lynn Wall*
Belmont, NC
Psychology

Kullen Reece Williams***
Antioch, TN
Theological Studies

Emily Claire Wise*
Lebanon, TN
Psychology

Andrew Bryant Yerby**
Fayette, AL
Business Administration

Elizabeth Ann Yerby**
Madison, AL
Child Development and Learning

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

Hailey Savannah Boyer*
Fredericktown, MO
English

Hannah Katherine Goucher**
Hernando, MS
Intercultural Studies

Taylor Melayne Pate**
Lake Butler, FL
Intercultural Studies

Kasey L Perry
Goldsboro, NC
English

Mallie Scott Sharenberger***
Elmwood, TN
History

Jonathan Brooks Truett*
Kinston, NC
Pastoral Ministry

Bachelor of Music Education

Summer Dawn Walker**
Depew, NY
Music Education

Master of Arts Degrees

Derek Allen Altom
Old Hickory, TN
Theology and Ministry

Russell Douglas Houske
Gallatin, TN
Theology and Ministry

Joshua Allen Hunter
Pleasant View, TN
Theology and Ministry

Lazaro Riesgo
Miami, FL
Theology and Ministry

Matthew Wayne Rose
Coeburn, VA
Theology and Ministry

Carl David Short
Blue Springs, MO
Theology and Ministry

Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees
Jennifer Trice Morrison
Gallatin, TN
Special Education

Carrigan Taylor Pate
Hendersonville, TN
Teaching

Hannah Elizabeth Postlewaite
Christiansted, VI
Teaching

Maredith Claire Ryan
Hendersonville, TN
Instructional Leadership 

Class of 2020

Associate of Science Degrees

Tanner Michael Carson
Gallatin, TN
Business

Kiera Kiyomi Jorden
Grand Junction, CO
Biology

Robert Michael Mackinley Waddell
Joelton, TN
Biology

Bachelor of Science Degrees

Meagan Marie Fulcher Charlton*
Ayden, NC
English
Licensure 6-12

Nikolette Jones Collier
Tuscaloosa, AL
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-5

Emilee Savannah Davis**
Charlotte, NC
Psychology

Ryan Alexander Erb
Knoxville, TN
Business Administration

Emma Elizabeth Guthrie*
Hartford, IL
Psychology

Hannah Noel Reynolds Jimmeye*
North Kingstown, RI
Exercise Science

Avery Noell Jones**
Owasso, OK
Business Administration

Kinsley Victoria Kivette***
Sevierville, TN
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-5

Allison Marie Pogue
Wentzville, MO
History
Licensure 6-12

Jacklyn Rachel Grizzle Reed***
Bristol, TN
Business Administration

Kelsey Lynn Reed
Perryville, MO
Business Administration

Daniel Alejandro Rojas***
Prosser, WA
History
Licensure 6-12

Newman Maxwell Ward
Mount Juliet, TN
Exercise Science

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

Abigail Caitlin Fawbush*
Greenbrier, TN
Humanities

Jacqueline Abigail Hunter**
Pleasant View, TN
Humanities

Sarah Elizabeth Pierce*
Mount Vernon, IL
Intercultural Studies

Master of Arts Degrees

Joshua Blake Alderman
Dothan, AL
Theology and Ministry

William Ross Hicks
West Plains, MO
Theology and Ministry

Brandon Kyle Presley
Knoxville, TN
Theology and Ministry

Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees

Rejyna McClure Beck
Cottontown, TN
Teaching

Joshua Patrick Burba
Nashville, TN
Teaching

Cassie Morgan Davenport
Gallatin, TN
Teaching

Christine Ruth Lewis
Chicago, IL
Special Education

 

*** Summa Cum Laude – 3.75
** Magna Cum Laude-3.50
* Cum Laude-3.25
† Not Present

Welch College to Offer Theater Emphasis in Humanities and Arts Degree

Welch College will begin offering a Theater emphasis in the Humanities and Arts bachelor’s degree in Fall 2021, according to Provost Dr. Matthew McAffee. Welch has offered successful extracurricular theater performances since former Speech and Drama faculty member Mrs. Laura Thigpen’s arrival at the college in the 1940s. In recent years, AnnaGee Harris has produced and directed Welch’s many popular plays, musicals, and Evangels’ summer tours.

The new emphasis will be under the direction of Harris, who toured with the Evangels as a student and who has served as director of theater at Welch for thirteen years. A 2005 secondary education and theology graduate of Welch, Harris, who also directs enrollment events and student reps at Welch, holds a master’s degree in teaching from Trevecca Nazarene University and a master’s degree in theater from Regent University.

“I am excited that our students now have the opportunity to study theater, not just on a performance level, but also on an academic level,” Harris said. “The Humanities and Arts degree is a wonderful place for students to grow not just as artists, but also as Christians who will positively impact culture.”

Humanities and Arts degree program coordinator, Phillip Morgan, said about the new emphasis, “This will be a great addition to our growing Humanities and Arts degree program, giving students the opportunity to explore the impact of theology and a Christian worldview on the arts. We want to help prepare students to serve Christ faithfully in the world through this art form. I am very excited about Ms. Harris’s new opportunities to help Welch College to fulfill this aspect of our mission.”

Students majoring in Humanities and Arts with an emphasis in theater will be prepared to continue their studies in a theater on the graduate level as well as be prepared for professional work as an actor, director, and dramatic writer.

Those interested in Theater or the bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Arts should contact GoToWelch@welch.edu for questions and Welch.edu/GoToWelch to apply.

President Pinson Announces Return to Pre-COVID Norms, Tuition Freeze, for Fall 2021

Dear Members of the Welch College Community,

These have been trying times for colleges and universities. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced restrictions and difficulties that have made it impossible for higher education institutions to continue normal operations.

I am happy to say that our students, faculty, and staff at Welch College have made it easy for us to meet our goal to make it to the end of the academic year under COVID-19. Their generous and cooperative spirit has made a difficult situation much more tolerable, and for that we are thankful.

However, we are all ready to move to normalcy. Our leadership at Welch believes that the increasingly high vaccination rate, especially of those who are most vulnerable, combined with the decline in the number of individuals in our region who are contracting the virus or experiencing complications from it, justifies our return to a pre-COVID normalcy this summer and fall.

All summer courses will be online. However, staff will be back to a full work schedule on campus this summer and will not have to wear masks, socially distance, or complete their daily online health survey.

Unless we see new developments with the Coronavirus between now and when we begin classes in mid-August, our plan is to open the fall semester at full, normal capacity, with no masks and social distancing. We are planning for full-capacity classes, chapel, arts and athletic events, and other gatherings. Students, faculty, and staff will be encouraged, but not required, to be vaccinated. Under this plan, members of the campus community will no longer be required to fill out their daily online health survey.

Another step we have taken to ease the transition back to campus—especially for many of our students and prospective students whose families’ financial situations have been affected by the pandemic—is to freeze tuition, room, and board costs. Last year we froze student costs to attend Welch, and next year those costs will remain at 2019 levels.

We look forward to a vibrant Fall semester as Welch College gets back to normal, and we look forward to having you with us in this Christian community of faith and learning.

In Christ,

Matt Pinson
President

Sunrise at Welch College, a private Christian college in Gallatin, Tennesse

Update on Commencement from President Pinson

Dear Welch College Community:

I wanted to write you with an update on Commencement activities on May 7th. Our R.s.v.p. survey of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 has led us to move from hosting three Commencement ceremonies to hosting only two. (Originally we were planning three ceremonies in the morning, afternoon, and evening.) 

Thus on May 7th, we will host two ceremonies, one at 10:00 a.m. central time and the other at 2:00 p.m. central time:

  • The first ceremony, which will be held at 10:00 a.m. central time, will be for the bachelor’s degree recipients of the Class of 2021. 
  • The second ceremony, which will be held at 2:00 p.m. central time, will be for (1) the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree recipients of the Class of 2020 as well as (2) the associate’s and master’s degree recipients of the Class of 2021.

Owing to physical distancing requirements surrounding COVID-19, seating will be unavailable for unticketed guests. Both Commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed for individuals to view. Welch students are invited to view the live-stream on their own devices and then congratulate graduates after both ceremonies.

We will host a virtual awards ceremony for the Class of 2021 and current Welch students on Thursday, May 6th, at 10:00 a.m. central time. Details about how to watch this ceremony will be sent soon. 

Because of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, there will be no graduate breakfast or Baccalaureate service. There will also be no separate hooding ceremony for master’s degree recipients. 

Further details about other Commencement-related activities will be communicated in the near future. For more information, please email Whitney Lute in the Provost’s Office (wlute@welch.edu).

I want to thank you for your patience with us as we navigate these situations in a difficult set of circumstances owing to COVID-19. We look forward to celebrating with you this momentous occasion in your journey. We have been praying for you and are excited about what God is already doing and is going to do through you for His kingdom.

Sincerely,

Matt Pinson
President

Welch College Campus located in Gallatin, Tennessee - a private Christian college

Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) to Visit Welch College April 19-22, 2021

Welch College, (Gallatin, TN) will be hosting a comprehensive accreditation visit by a team of evaluators from the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) April 19-22, 2021 to determine its compliance with the standards for accreditation. During the visit, representatives of the ABHE team will entertain comments from the public. Any members of the public interested in making a presentation regarding the College to the team should contact the College at the following telephone number (615) 675-5322 or email address (khester@welch.edu) to determine a meeting time. Persons wishing to submit third-party comments related to the institution may send them to Dr. Ron Kroll, Director, Commission on Accreditation, 5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Suite 130, Orlando, FL, 32822. Persons interested in reviewing the standards for accreditation will find them on the ABHE website at abhe.org. They appear under “about accreditation.” The institution is subject to the Institutional Accreditation Standards.

At present, the visiting team anticipates meeting with any individuals who would like to make a public comment on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, between the hours of 3:00-4:00 pm CDT. Individuals who would like to make comments in person should report to the front desk of Coffman Hall on the Campus of Welch College (1045 Bison Trail, Gallatin, Tennessee 37066) prior to 3:15 pm on this day. Depending on the number of people participating, the amount of time a particular individual is given to speak will be strictly limited (3-5 minutes).

Tim Owen Joins Welch Advancement Team

Tim Owen, highly respected pastor and denominational leader, will become the Director of the Welch Fund for Welch College, according to David Williford, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

Owen, a Florida native, is a 1982 graduate of Welch. His wife Karen is also a graduate. Most of Owen’s ministry was spent in his home state of Florida where he served three churches for thirty years. He was also active in state leadership, serving as moderator of the Florida State Association of Free Will Baptists for sixteen years.

In addition to his work in Florida, Tim served on the board of directors of Randall House Publications for fourteen years with the last eight as board chairman. Tim’s most recent ministry was Director of Events at Randall House. The experience gained in that ministry works well with the special fundraising events he will coordinate as Director of the Welch Fund.

Williford said, “We are thrilled to have Tim join our team at Welch. He brings immense credibility with pastors and leaders. This position requires trust on the part of those who will accept him as a representative of the college, and he has spent a lifetime developing that trust. We welcome him to Welch.”

“I’m excited to join the team at my alma mater,” Owen said. “My wife and I are both graduates of Welch, as are two of our sons. The college has made a huge impact on lives around the world, and I’m excited to be part of what God is doing there. There is a great opportunity for an institution like ours to impact the lives of young people. I’m happy to be part of telling the Welch story to donors, parents, and prospective students.”

President Matt Pinson said, “I’ve known and respected Tim Owen for many years. An experienced and successful pastor when I began my ministry in West Florida, he was an encouragement to me as a young pastor. I’ve greatly admired the combination of professionalism and love for people that has characterized his ministry. He’ll be a tremendous asset to us here at Welch.”

Owen will begin his work at Welch April 1. He can be reached at towen@welch.edu.

Edwards Announces Resignation

After ten years as Director of the Welch Fund, Dr. Mike Edwards has announced that he and his wife Karen will be leaving Welch College, according to David Williford, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Welch.

Edwards will assume the role of Head of School at Faith Christian Academy in Effingham, South Carolina. FCA is a ministry of the Lebanon Free Will Baptist Church, where the Edwardses’ son Chris serves as Associate Pastor. Edwards’s new responsibilities begin June 1.

The Edwardses have served Welch College for more than fifteen years in two different stints of employment. They first served as resident directors from 1992 to 1997 while Mike was a student. Upon their return to Welch in 2011, Mike and Karen again assumed the role of resident directors in addition to his responsibilities directing the Welch Fund. Karen also served as manager of West End, the student snack shop and WelchWear store.

“Karen and I have thoroughly enjoyed our ministry at Welch,” Edwards said. “We had anticipated finishing our ministry here, but we’ve been given the opportunity to serve alongside our son in the ministry at the Lebanon Free Will Baptist my Church in Effingham, SC. I think most fathers would find it difficult to turn down the opportunity that has come my way. Karen and I are grateful to Welch for the wonderful years we’ve spent here. We have nothing but love in our hearts for the college and its ministry.”

Williford said, “Mike came here ten years ago as a stranger to me. Over the years, he has become one of my dearest friends and confidants. His cooperative spirit and gung-ho attitude have been the trademarks that characterized his ministry. He refined and expanded the work of the Office of Institutional Advancment and leaves it a much better place than he found it.”

President Matt Pinson said, “Mike and Karen were dorm dad and mom to hundreds of young men during their time at Welch. Mike has represented the college with impeccable character and class. Melinda and I love these choice servants of God, and we’re going to miss them dearly here at Welch. But we’re confident they’re following divine guidance and are going to flourish there in South Carolina.”

Edwards will continue to serve Welch in two capacities. He will serve as a regional representative for the states of North and South Carolina, and he will also continue his role as Adjunct Instructor in the online program of the college.

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For the latest information about coronavirus, visit welch.edu/coronavirus

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