2021 Commencement Ceremony

Opening of the Ceremony 

The procession of elated students marched into the gymnasium on Friday, May 7, to the music of “Crown Him With Many Crowns.”  

After the congregational song “Arise, My Soul Arise,” Maranatha’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Matthew Davis led the invocation, thanking the Lord for the opportunity to celebrate not only the graduates’ achievements but also what God had done in each of their lives. 

Dr. David Saxon, Professor for the College of Bible and Church Ministries, then read from Jude 17-25, a passage that challenges the graduates to remember what they have learned about God and to continue following Him. 

After the scripture reading, the Heritage Singers sang “Prayer to Jehovah,” which expresses a desire that God would guide in the lives of believers. 

Dr. Davis came back to the podium and invited people to share in an offering to help replace the gymnasium flooring. 

For the offertory, graduating seniors Emily Kindstedt and Charity Talosig played “Come Thou Fount” as a piano duet. 

Challenge by Dr. Marriott 

Dr. Marriott, President of Maranatha Baptist University, came to the podium to bring the challenge to the graduates from Deuteronomy 8:1-4. Marriott focused on the idea of remembering.  

Marriott’s first exhortation was for the graduates to remember their spiritual history. He challenged them to remember what they have learned from God’s word and from the godly examples they had at Maranatha. Graduates, remember what you were – servants, slaves to sin, without Christ and without God. God through His grace has saved you. Remember who you are – you are redeemed and you belong to Him. 

The second instruction that the graduates were challenged to remember is that the Christian life must be lived in God’s power and not their own power. Christians are saved and enabled to live in the power of God. “God enables us through difficulties to grow in Him and make applications to our lives,” Marriott stated. 

Finally, Marriott appealed to the students to remember God’s supernatural leading and provision. “Keep looking up to God no matter how difficult life may get,” Marriott urged the graduates. God led and fed His people in the wilderness. God takes care of His people even today. 

Marriott closed the challenge by exhorting the graduates to remember Christ and His sacrifice.  

Award Winners 

Following Marriott’s address came the announcement of awards and the presentation of diplomas. 

  • Florence Nightingale Best Bedside Nurse Award – Kevin Burns 
  • School of Business Student Achievement – Kyle Nankey 
  • Outstanding Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute Student – Amber Brungard 
  • Outstanding Science Student – Ashley Towberman 
  • Outstanding Humanities Student – Samanatha Nupson 
  • Outstanding Musician – Lorraine Yant 
  • Outstanding Future Teacher – Sarah Milam 
  • Outstanding Online Student – Susanna Chediak 
  • Outstanding College of Bible & Church Ministries Student – Joshua Bunger 
  • Outstanding Seminary Student in Theology – Matthew Zajac 

Joshua Bunger and Ryan Post were awarded medals for having the highest GPA. The highest GPA was tied at 4.0.  

Caleb Huthmaker received The President’s Award, granted for outstanding demonstration of qualities indicating fitness for gospel ministry. The Founder’s Awards, given to both a female and male graduate who best exemplifies the founding purpose and spirit of Maranatha Baptist University, went to Emily Kinstedt and James Gwin. 

Conferral of Diplomas 

Each graduate was then called by degree and department to receive his or her diploma.  

This year honored the first graduating class of Maranatha Baptist Bible InstituteFour students received a two-year certificate in Bible.  

Honorary Doctorate 

Dr. Milton Jones was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Dr. Marriott. Marriott recognized Jones’ influence in starting the Bible Institute and thanked him for his true servant leadership and dedication to the cause of Christian education. 

Closing of the Ceremony 

True to tradition, the graduating men’s ensemble sang “The Banner of the Cross” following the conferral of diplomas. DrMariott then offered a prayer of dedication. To close the ceremony, Dr. Bob Loggans, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, gave the benediction. 

Following the ceremony, outside in the grassy courtyard, the graduates celebrated their graduation by tossing their caps into the air. The alumni bell rang to officially close out the school year. 

To view the Commencement ceremony, click here 

To view photos, click here