East Texas Baptist University recognized the achievements and accomplishments of the Tiger student body before the Spring 2021 semester comes to an end. Some 215 graduating seniors were honored April 14 with the presentation of their official ETBU Class Ring, marking the largest senior class in university history. On April 21, a special Honors Chapel was held in celebration of all of the accomplishments of the university’s outstanding students.

“Receiving your ETBU ring marks a huge accomplishment for seniors,” ETBU alumnus and Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Michael Rich (12’) said. “Seniors, as you leave this campus, I pray that you are a light to those around you. I pray and hope that as you are working in your fields and vocations that you make an impact, and that you make Jesus famous wherever you are and move in a mighty way.”

As a token and gift of appreciation from the university to graduating seniors, this graduation ring symbolizes the university’s blessing over students as they commence from ETBU to pursue their career callings. Each ring features the seal of East Texas Baptist, surrounded by the cornerstones of the University – Veritas, Mores, and Scientia, which translate from Latin to Truth, Character, and Knowledge. Inscribed in the ring are significant icons of ETBU and the Christian faith, such as historic Marshall Hall, the Light on the Hill, Max Greiner’s Divine Servant Statue, and the Bible. These symbols remind Tiger alumni of God’s work in their lives and their transformational experience at East Texas Baptist University.

“This ring holds a lot of symbolism for me,” ETBU senior music major Ashlyn Gordon said. “From starting as a transfer student, to already making it to graduation, there were so many times that I thought I would fall but God has a way of picking you back up without you even realizing it. For most people graduation is that symbolism of how far you’ve come, but I feel like the ring tells that story too.”

ETBU’s campus community gathered for the annual Honors Chapel to recognize and applaud students who were inducted into various honor societies as well as those who received Academic Excellence Awards, given to students from different academic departments who are recognized by their respective faculty for their Christian character, scholarly accomplishments, servant leadership, and active involvement in ETBU campus life.

The 2021 recipients include:

Behavioral Sciences Department Academic Excellence Award | Kristen Schmidt

Biology Department Academic Excellence Award | Dakota Courtney

Business Department Academic Excellence Award | Alayna Scull

Chemistry Department Academic Excellence Award | Kaia Williams

Christian Ministry Department Academic Excellence Award | Jose Hi

Communication Department Academic Excellence Award | Samantha Herrod

History and Political Science Department Academic Excellence Award | Tal Carson

Kinesiology Department Academic Excellence Award | Hayley Bowers

Languages and Literature Department Academic Excellence Award | Haley Wheat

Mathematics Department Academic Excellence Award | Reagan Lee

Music and Theatre Arts Department Academic Excellence Award | Haley Harmening

Nursing Department Academic Excellence Award | Jenna Kucera

Teacher Education Department Academic Excellence Award | Breonna Jackson

“We are honored to give recognition for exemplary Christian scholarship and Christian service,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “ETBU Tigers, we awarded your commitment to excel as you set a model for others in your studies, academic pursuits, and vocational preparation. Throughout such a difficult year, our students, faculty, and staff have been faithful. The ETBU family was not fearful. We have embraced the challenges of the pandemic and persevered with the power, protection, and provision of God. I look forward to closing out a successful academic year and heading into the next one with a spirit of faith and not fear.”

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