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Oklahoma Christian Prepares for Annual Fall Commencement

Graduation is approaching as the semester comes to a close. Oklahoma Christian University will hold their commencement ceremony on Friday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. in McGraw Pavilion, weather permitting.

Brian Simmons, the Program Chair for Communications, said Oklahoma Christian’s graduation ceremonies are very important to him.

“What’s great about any of these ceremonies is the pride we feel in seeing the students walk across the stage,” Simmons said. “They’re visually and symbolically ending their time on this campus. It brings a sense of closure.”

Kerri Cunningham, the Executive Director of Campus Events, said despite the ceremony itself being traditional, this year’s commencement will contain a few differences.

“This year we’re going to have two speakers [instead of one],” Cunningham said. “They’re siblings, and we’re going to get their OC story.”

The keynote speakers for this semester’s graduation will be Ray Vaughn Jr. and his sister Lynn Mitchell. Both graduated from Oklahoma Christian, and currently serve as trustees.

Traditionally, Oklahoma Christian graduates are hooded during commencement by a representative of their choice—a parent or a friend. Cunningham said there would be no hooding ceremony this year.

“We used to do a hooding ceremony prior to COVID-19,” Cunningham said. “We don’t do that in the actual ceremony anymore, the graduates put on their hoods prior to the commencement. Other universities have hooding ceremonies separate from the graduation ceremony, so we’ve been throwing around ideas about how to handle that.”

Simmons said the fall ceremony feels different from the spring commencement not just spatially, but atmospherically.

“There’s still all the pomp and circumstance of the other services,” Simmons said. “Because of the small size the fall commencement feels more intimate.”

Lindsey Stoekel, a graduating senior, said her favorite part about her time at Oklahoma Christian was all the people, especially the professors she met along the way.

“People here are so kind,” Stoekel said. “Kent Hartman and Lynn McMillon are hands down my two favorite people in the world. When you’re around them, you want to be a better person. I’ve made friendships that are going to last forever. I’m going to miss a lot of people here.”

Cody Johnson, a graduating business administration major, said his time at Oklahoma Christian impacted his future career path.

“I think one thing that was instilled to me at OC was the impact of faith-based entrepreneurship,” Johnson said. “We can impact the business world through leadership and faith.”

Ethan White, a graphic design major, said he loved the community at Oklahoma Christian.

“I managed to find some amazing friends here,” White said. “[Oklahoma Christian] provided me a place to push myself and grow into who God wants me to be.”

Each of these three seniors had advice for current and future Oklahoma Christian students, listed as follows:

-White: “Friends are like buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up or take you down.”

-Johnson: “Enjoy your time in college and with your friends. It doesn’t last forever and moves faster than you can imagine.”

-Stoekel: “Don’t freak out. If you don’t feel like you belong, give it time. I did, and now I don’t want to leave.”

In the 2021 fall commencement, 147 graduates will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

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