CENTRAL — Southern Wesleyan University graduates, their family members and friends will gather at the university’s campus in Central Friday, Dec. 8 for two commencement ceremonies.
The speaker will be Tim Rickman, a Southern Wesleyan alumnus and principal of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C.
A 1979 Education graduate, Rickman has made a lasting impression on more than 20 classes that have graduated from Wesleyan Christian Academy. Rickman has taken students on 20 mission trips to Jamaica and played a significant role in Wesleyan’s growth, while demonstrating a deep love for his students. During Rickman’s leadership, Wesleyan has experienced a 100 percent graduation rate, expansion of Advanced Placement courses into all core disciplines and expansion of the fine arts program.
The Southern Wesleyan University Alumni Association recently presented him with the 2017 Professional Excellence Award for the School of Education. He is also the 2017 recipient of a professional lifetime education certificate from the Association of Christian Schools International.
According to Regina Bolding Harned, the university’s associate registrar, 255 degrees will be awarded to December graduates.
On Friday, Dec. 8, students graduating from the university’s traditional program will participate in a ceremony at 10 a.m. and students graduating from the university’s adult evening and online programs from all locations will participate in a ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, May 8. Both graduation ceremonies will be held in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center on the Southern Wesleyan University campus in Central.
There will be a Baccalaureate service on Thursday, Dec. 7, with Rev. Paul Service as the speaker.
Service graduated from Southern Wesleyan with a BS in youth and music in 1991. He is married to Kristy Fields Service, a 1989 Southern Wesleyan graduate.
Service was ordained in the Western New York District in 1997 and has served the past 26 years in full-time ministry in several districts, including North Carolina East, Western New York, Greater Ohio and South Carolina. Pastoring in staff positions has given him experience serving in many roles, including youth, worship, drama, children, young adults and small groups.
The Service family recently relocated to South Carolina after their two children both felt drawn to Southern Wesleyan for their education; Jordan is graduating this semester with a BA in media communication and a minor in business, and Emily is a sophomore vocal music education major.
Service is currently assistant pastor at Pickens View Wesleyan Church in Pickens.