2019 Commencement Speakers Announced

Dr. Mark Stripling and Dr. Bruce Ashford will address the Welch College class of 2019, according to President Matt Pinson. Stripling, Senior Pastor of North Little Rock Free Will Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, will present the baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening, May 9, at 7:00. Ashford, Provost and Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, will address the graduates at the 10:00 a.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10.

Stripling, who has served Free Will Baptist churches in a number of capacities for 36 years, has served at the North Little Rock Church since 1990. A Georgia native, he has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Executive Board of Arkansas Free Will Baptists and the Executive Board of the Central Association of Arkansas Free Will Baptists. He recently ended his second term as a member of the Welch Board of Trustees, serving most of his twelve years on the Board as its secretary.

Ashford is well-known in Christian higher education circles, having taught at Southeastern Seminary since 2003 and provost since 2013. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he is a well-known conference speaker and prolific author. His best known book is Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians (Lexham, 2015). He is co-author of One Nation under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics (B&H, 2015) and editor of Theology and Practice of Mission (B&H, 2011).

President Matt Pinson said, “Commencement activities are such important events in the life of our college community at Welch, and especially for the graduating seniors. Commencement always highlights our mission 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 great speakers address the graduating class. We invite friends, family, and alumni to join us in this special time of celebration.”

Speakers Announced for First Commencement Exercises on New Welch College Campus

GALLATIN, TN—Two Welch College alumni will challenge 2017 graduates at the first Commencement event on the new Gallatin campus, according to President Matt Pinson.

Clint Morgan, Free Will Baptist International Missions director, will address graduates during 10:00 a.m. Commencement exercises Friday, May 19. Reverend Todd Parrish, pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Washington, North Carolina, will present the Baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening, May 18 at 7:00.

A 1972 Welch graduate, Morgan completed a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University and a degree in French from the University of Nante, France. He and his wife Lynette served as missionaries in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, for twenty-nine years and in France for four years. Morgan has been the general director of Free Will Baptist International Missions since 2011. He and his wife have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

A 1989 graduate of Welch and current student in Welch’s M.A. program in theology and ministry, Parrish has ministered in Free Will Baptist churches for more than twenty years. A trained counselor with a master’s degree in the field, he is former director of the Free Will Baptist Home for Children in Turbeville, SC. He currently serves as Assistant Moderator of the North Carolina Association of Free Will Baptists. He and his wife Merinda have two daughters, Emily and Ellen, the latter of which is a member of the Welch Class of 2017.

“The most uplifting time of year at Welch College is Commencement, as students receive their degrees and launch out into the future,” said President Pinson. “What a privilege to watch these young leaders go out to change the world. While some move on from here to pursue graduate degrees or professional training, most find places of service and begin making a difference in local churches, schools, and the marketplace. We encourage friends and family members to join us as we celebrate the 2017 graduates.”

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