Bringing back the baccalaureate

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

For the first time in at least 40 years, a baccalaureate service will be held 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 12 in Lovett Auditorium to honor graduating seniors.

According to the press release, students should expect a “nondenominational Christian baccalaureate service thanking God for our graduates and asking his blessing on them in the future.”

Graduates of December 2016, May 2017 and August 2017, family, friends, faculty, alumni, former, present and future students and the general public are invited to attend.

Attendance is purely voluntary. Graduates and faculty are welcome to wear academic regalia and may participate in the processional and recessional.

The Murray State chapter of the Christian Faculty Network is sponsoring the event, and the United Campus Ministries Association is supporting it.


Winfield Rose, the event’s coordinator, leadership council member of Christian Faculty Network and professor of political science, said baccalaureate will add a spiritual dimension to graduation.

“What you try to focus on for a baccalaureate service is getting the graduates to think about the kind of person they are, as opposed to the kind of person they would like to be,” Rose said.

Rose presented the proposal to the Christian Faculty Network last year, and he said they were supportive. The night will be complete with a processional, an invocation, hymns, a speaker, a benediction and a recessional. Rose recommended retired pastor John Dale to speak at the event.

“John is a legend around here,” Rose said. “He is widely regarded as a superb speaker.”

Dale, local pastor for 46 years, said when Rose asked him if he’d like to speak at baccalaureate, he was honored and glad to have the opportunity.

“I don’t claim to come with a great deal of wisdom or great intellectual prowess, but I do have a lot of experience,” Dale said.

Dale retired from Glendale Road Church of Christ in 2012 but still continues to preach at various churches, weddings and funerals. He earned his master’s degree in communication from Murray State in 1968, and he taught speech at the university for seven years before retiring