Nurse Pinning – Graduate Candidate Chapel – Baccalaureate Service 2024

Watertown, WI – May 2, 2024 – Maranatha Baptist University hosted a busy first day of Commencement Exercises, including the School of Nursing Pinning ceremony, the last chapel for the graduate candidates, and the Baccalaureate service.

Beginning the day with new health professionals

The day of celebration began with an early morning Nurse Pinning breakfast in Old Main Cafe, where students, parents, and friends mingled with faculty, staff, and executives and then proceeded to the gymnasium for the 8:30 A.M. pinning.

The Pinning Ceremony commemorates the hard work and dedication of the graduating class as they prepare to embark on their nursing careers and serves as a tradition to launch the new health professionals into a life of service.

Leading the ceremony was Dr. William Licht, Vice President of Academic Affairs. With heartfelt words, Dr. Hansel, the Chair of the Department of Applied Science and father of four nurses, served as the guest speaker, bringing a special touch to the event with his understanding of the profession both from a professional and personal perspective.

Hansel encouraged the students from 2 Timothy 1:7 that they don’t need to be afraid and that they have been given tools for success in their profession and life: the ability to overcome, to love, and to reason.

Each student received their pin with family, symbolizing their official entry into the nursing profession. The class’ gratitude to faculty for their investment in their lives was palpable. School of Nursing Director Ms. Tami Gunselman commended the students for their hard work and dedication, emphasizing the importance of their role as caregivers and advocates for the well-being of others.

An encouraging time of testimony and challenge

The campus community then gathered to share testimonies and to reflect on the blessings of the past years of education.

Dr. Matt Davis began by welcoming Online students, spouses, and families to the campus. Testimony time is a special platform for graduates, parents, and faculty alike to share personal stories of growth, resilience, and gratitude for God’s guiding hand.

From tales of academic triumph to accounts of spiritual growth, each testimony resonated with the verse at the end of the mission of Maranatha—that we should be to the praise of His Glory. Graduates expressed deep appreciation for the support and mentorship provided by MBU faculty and staff, underscoring the university’s commitment to holistic education.

President Dr. David Anderson delivered a thought-provoking challenge, urging the graduate candidates to reflect on God’s grace in their lives and drawing parallels from the life of Jacob and Joseph as recounted in the book of Genesis. His message emphasized the importance of surrendering to God’s plan and living as a testament to His goodness.


The day concluded with a Baccalaureate ceremony at 7:00 P.M. School of Music Chair Dr. Douglas Bachorik led the filled auditorium in singing “Our Great Savior,” accompanied by pianist Pamela Loggans. Students and faculty removed hats and boards while Dr. Anderson opened in prayer, setting the tone for a worshipful service. MBU’s Praisemen, a traveling group that ministers in churches, schools, and camps all summer, echoed Dr. Anderson’s prayer that students would devote their moments, hours, days and lives to the Lord’s service, with their four-part harmony of “O to Be Like Thee.” “You are our life’s work,” said Dr. Davis in his opening statement as he individually thanked and welcomed parents, spouses, pastors, and alumnus, board members. The Board of Resource was also recognized for its many years of service to the university, and an offertory designated for new outdoor basketball and pickleball courts was taken, during which graduate candidate and pianist Raeanne Eastwood played a rousing arrangement of “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.”

Outstanding Student Award Recipients

Dr. Licht introduced the part of the ceremony that would recognize outstanding seniors in each department. The Outstanding Student awards are given to one student who exemplifies the core values of their department. Each recipient was announced by their respective academic leader:

  • Dr. Milton Jones presented the Bible Institute award to Eliana Bixby
  • Dr. Anderson presented the College of Bible and Church Ministries award to Zachary Foerster
  • Dr. Lane Hansel presented the Department of Applied Science award to Mallory Willette
  • Angela Morris presented the Department of Humanities award to Victoria Kirby
  • Dr. Douglas Bachorik presented the Department of Music award to Allison Morken
  • Jonathan Coleman presented the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies award to Tamara Rickard
  • Dr. Tracy Foster presented the School of Business award to Rebekah D’Oyley
  • Dr. Thomas Graham presented the School of Education award to Cathleen Gillespie
  • Tami Gunselman presented the School of Nursing award to Madison Meals
  • Dana Davis presented the Online and Distance Learning award to Madison Schmidt
  • Dr. David Anderson presented the Maranatha Baptist Seminary Theology award to Nathan Huston
  • Dr. David Anderson presented the Maranatha Baptist Seminary Biblical Languages award to Westley Markle

Baccalaureate Message

Following the presentation of the awards, Dr. Licht read Psalm 1, and Jenny Sanders, an accomplished vocalist who completed two seasons with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra while earning her master’s in biblical counseling, sang a sobering but stirring “To Live or Die.” President Anderson, visibly moved by the lyrics and delivery of Ms. Sanders’ solo, introduced speaker David Oliver, pastor of Ashley Baptist Church, Belding, MI, acknowledging Dr. Oliver’s many years of godly service and friendship.

Pastor Oliver’s sermon began with a reading of Matthew 4:1-4, a passage “that proclaims the greatness of our Savior, the Son of God,” stating that the temptation of Jesus came at the commencement of his earthly ministry. Similarly, while for graduates a part of life is concluding, commencement is a beginning, not an end. Pastor Oliver pointed to numerous examples of not only Jesus’ but also Paul’s loyalty, service, and faithfulness being tested when they were in the center of God’s will [2 Cor. 11:24-33]. He challenged graduates that faith is seen in the simple ways they can protect their testimony: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, when perhaps others are slacking off or leaving early; by sitting, waiting, trusting, obeying, studying, praying, and by the grace of God, finishing. Jesus knew the path to the throne had to take him to Calvary, but He existed to please God. Likewise, MBU exists to develop and equip servants not for high-paying jobs but to bring glory to and please God.

Pastor Oliver saw three provisions of Jesus in resisting temptation: 1.) a superlative example of living a Holy Spirit-empowered life; 2.) a sympathetic helper when trials come [Hebrews 2:18, 4:15-3]; and 3.) a sinless Redeemer [Hebrew 7:25, I John 1:9]!

In closing, Pastor Oliver shared encouragements by older, wiser preachers that had been imprinted upon his own heart and mind in his younger years: “You fall the way you lead, so stand up straight,” “Young man, don’t put any skeletons in your closet,” and, the example of 19th-century temperance revivalist J.B. Gough, who “died with his boots on,” on a platform behind a lectern, challenging young men to keep their record clean. “Keep your record clean,” Pastor Oliver repeated. “Jesus could run his whole race and be victorious because He stayed faithful. Trust God. Walk in obedience and faith. Follow the example of our Savior.”


In conclusion, Dr. Andrew Goodwill, Dean of Students, offered the benediction.

To view the ceremony, click here

To view photos, click here