Congratulations to the Class of 2017! Wiley College has again produced a record number of new graduates, with 275 students crossing the stage Saturday in the Alumni Gymnasium to receive their degrees at the 128th Baccalaureate and Commencement Convocation.
Commencement speaker Bishop Scott Jameson Jones, residing bishop of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, opened his remarks to the graduates with an apology for the "bad news" he was compelled to share with them: "Today is not about you."
Bishop Jones quickly proceeded to share good news that garnered applause from the Class of 2017. "Instead, today is about God's dream for your life and how you are going to fit into that for the rest of your lifetime."
Centering his message on the importance of service to others, Bishop Jones warned students of the dangers of selfishness. "Because if you get focused on how you've arrived, on what you've done, and how things have worked out for you, and you have rested on your laurels, it is going to go downhill fast," said the bishop. He called the students' attention to a Bible scripture from the book of Phillipians:" 'Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.' "
Wiley senior Quinn-Lee Ralph, a computer information systems major whose 4.0 grade point average is the highest in his class, also spoke at commencement, sharing reflections about his Wiley experience. (See video below)
Wiley senior Katori Mobley received the Allen Mercer Mayes/Laverne Hadnott Endowed Scholarship Award during the ceremony. The award traditionally goes to a high-achieving student who has gained acceptance into graduate school. Mobley has been accepted at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia, and Wake Forest University's School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Longtime and beloved Wiley educator Dr. Truby B. Clayton was also recognized during the commencement ceremony; he was presented the 2017 Exemplary Faculty Award.
The Alumni Gymnasium was filled to its 1,800 seating capacity with friends and family who came out to share in the graduates' special day. Overflow seating was provided in the Julius S. Scott Chapel and the Fred T. Long Student Union Building, where the ceremony was streamed lived on multiple screens in both locations.
In top photo, graduates express their glee as they turn their tassels to become graduates!
In second photo, Bishop Scott Jameson Jones delivers words of wisdom to the Class of 2017.
In third photo, senior Katori Mobley,center, is pictured being presented the Allen Mercer Mayes/Laverne Hadnott Endowed Scholarship.
In bottom photo, longtime Wiley educator Dr. Truby B. Clayton, center, is presented the Exemplary faculty award by Bishop Jones and Wiley's president, Dr. Haywood L. Strickland.