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Soderquist to speak at graduation

Friday, December 7, 2007  
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By Wendy Sanders

The December graduation is expected to bring many visitors to Oklahoma Christian University.

Many graduates feel they are ready and well equipped to graduate and start their new phase of life.

Rachel Yeakley, Paul Timmons, Aron Wynn, Tara McComas and Cara Lindsey are each facing new lives and exciting times after graduation next week. 

“I’ll really miss the college atmosphere and seeing so many friends every day, but there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to as I start my career,” Yeakley said.

Many students are looking forward to the relief felt after finishing an undergraduate degree.

“I am looking forward to reading for pleasure and doing those kinds of things I haven’t had time for while in school,” McComas said.

Some students plan to stay around the Edmond area, but many will be moving away or even continuing school elsewhere.

Lindsey will be continuing her education at University of Central Oklahoma obtaining her masters degree in Psychology.  McComas plans to attend medical school and further her biology degree. Other students already have an ideal job set up to start immediately after graduation.

“What I am looking forward to most is starting the next part of my life. Oklahoma Christian has been great and has equipped me with the tools necessary to move on in my career,” Timmons said.

Although this is her first December graduation at Oklahoma Christian, Allison Garrett, Vice President of Academic Affairs, helped to arrange parts of graduation day.

Each December the three colleges invite their students, along with parents and close friends to attend a reception at 9 a.m. After the hour long reception, graduates proceed to their rehearsal and a bachelorette luncheon before the ceremony at 2 p.m.

Along with the many other tasks to accomplish for graduation, Donna Anders, Garrett’s assistant, will help with the faculty arrangement at the beginning of the ceremony.  Garrett helped arrange the commencement address speaker, Don Soderquist.

“The University is always looking for individuals who can speak and are held up as exemplars to students who have led lives of principle and morals,” Garrett said. “He has certainly done that. He has held to his Christian beliefs and been able to rise to high level in corporate America.”

Soderquist, retired Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice Chairman of Wal-Mart, Inc. was instrumental in helping Wal-Mart become one of the largest companies in the world. Since his retirement, Soderquist published two books, “Be Like Jesus” and “The Wal-Mart Way.” Garrett said he speaks at many business leadership conferences and holds his own private leadership seminars at a private location in Arkansas.

“He has a terrific personality, a lot of charisma and is a great speaker,” Garrett said.

After the graduation ceremony, students are free to be with family and friends for an evening of fancy restaurants and quality time.

“I will be spending the day with family and friends,” Timmons said. “It should be an exciting day because many of my close friends will be graduating with me.”

Some graduates choose to dine a fancy meal, while others appreciate the casual scene of many family members and friends.

“After graduation, family and friends are coming to my house for a come and go reception,” Wynn said.

Oklahoma Christian will graduate 150 people next Friday; 53 Masters in Business, three graduate bible degrees and 94 undergraduates. More than 1,000 people are expected to fill Hardeman during the ceremony.

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