From Rust College, Holly Springs, MS
Hundreds of happy parents, relatives and friends packed the gymnasium inside the McMillan Multi-Purpose Center and watched Rust College president Dr. David L. Beckley, along with Dr. Paul C. Lampley, Vice President of Academic Affairs, confer degrees to 154 graduates on Sunday, April 28.
Bishop Swanson surprised
As part of this prestigious and exciting ceremony, the keynote address was given by Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Swanson delivered a rousing speech which truly stirred the audience, especially the graduates.
"This is but a mere phase in your life," Bishop Swanson told graduates. "You have to leave here and do something with your life. Make plans beyond this day. Use Rust College as a launching pad for higher heights in your life."
After the final graduate crossed the stage, Dr. Beckley bestowed another degree--an Honorary Doctor of Humanities was presented to Bishop Swanson.
"The Bishop didn't know we were going to do this," said Dr. Beckley. "You are now officially a Rustite," he told Bishop Swanson who accepted his degree graciously.
Bishop Swanson is a native of Houston, Texas but has strong family ties in Mississippi. He is a graduate of Southern Bible College in Houston, with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries; and C.H. Mason Seminary, ITC in Atlanta, Georgia, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. He was elected as a Bishop in the United Methodist Church in July 2004. He was assigned as Resident Bishop of the Mississippi Area in 2012, and is currently serving as the President of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He is also a member of the Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church.
Upon completion of the conferring of degrees, the graduates, including Bishop Swanson, recited the Rust College Alumni Oath, led by Rust College International Alumni Association President and United Methodist Minister Rev. Frederick Brown (St. James UMC, Columbus, Mississippi).
About Rust College
Rust College offers academic programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social Work and Associate in Science degrees.
Rust College is a historically black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The College is related to the United Methodist Church, and is dedicated to serving students with a variety of academic preparations, through instruction in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural science, business, technology, and education. Rust College provides an opportunity for education to all, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or ethnic background.