Oakwood’s Spring 2009 Commencement events began Thursday, May 7, with the traditional Senior Tree Planting, Nurses Pinning, and Senior Reception. Rear Admiral Clara Henderson Cobb, RN, MSN, FNP, an Assistant Surgeon General who serves as health administrator for Region IV, was the Nurses Pinning Ceremony Speaker.The following evening for the Consecration service, Pastor Michael Kelly, II, spoke to the first graduating class to have passed through a full academic year under the name, Oakwood University, and the first graduate degree candidates for the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS). Kelly currently serves as pastor of the Allon Chapel Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.Baccalaureate Speaker Damon Hendrickson addressed the 302 degree candidates on Sabbath morning, May 9, at the Von Braun Arena. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of the Midland Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church and Restoration Ministries as well as the Conference Youth Director in Bermuda.Pastor Wintley Phipps was the Commencement Speaker Saturday night at the Von Braun Arena where 288 undergraduates and 14 MAPS graduates listened intently as the dynamic minister and motivational speaker delivered a potent message on “The Power of a Dream” to the next generation of Oakwood leaders. Phipps is the founder and CEO of the U.S. Dream Academy, a national after-school program designed to equip young people with the tools needed to fulfill their dreams. He currently serves as pastor of the Palm Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida.
Pastor Phipps, an Oakwood alumnus, was the recipient of Oakwood University’s first honorary doctoral degree, the Doctor of Laws, conferred on him during Commencement 2009. Other Commencement honorees included Garland and Jeanette Dulan (President’s Award), Clifford and Carla Stein (Philanthropic Award), DeWitt Williams (Alumnus Award), and Guy and Alicia Juzang (Community Service Award).