DBU Holds December Commencement

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by Kalie Lowrie – Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, TX –Four hundred eighty-eight degrees were conferred during Dallas Baptist University’s Winter Commencement service held on December 14, 2012. Of the graduates, 264 received bachelor’s degrees, 220 received master’s degrees, and four received doctorates.

Fred Luter was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Dallas Baptist University during Winter Commencement on Friday, December 14. Luter is pictured with his wife, Elizabeth.

The honorary Doctor of Divinity was presented to Rev. Fred Luter, Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Rev. Luter also gave the Commencement address during the morning service. The Commencement speaker for the afternoon service was Dr. David Smith, director of the Master of Arts in Christian ministry degree at DBU and professor of Christian ministry and leadership in the Gary Cook Graduate School of Leadership.

Rev. Luter has been pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church since 1986. The church membership has grown from 65 members to more than 8,000 under his able leadership. When his church was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2006, the congregation was displaced across the country. Rev. Luter worked toward reconstruction of the sanctuary and congregation and two years later, the church reopened in a new sanctuary in New Orleans. In addition to his pastorate, he is the first African-American president of the SBC and previously served as First Vice President. Rev. Luter and his wife, Elizabeth, have two adult children, Kimberly and Fred “Chip” Luter III, a 2006 graduate of Dallas Baptist University.

Dr. David Smith joined the DBU faculty in 2011 after having previously served as president of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. During his 13 years at Brewton-Parker, Dr. Smith successfully led the college through SACS accreditation reaffirmation, saw campus enrollment increase by 20%, observed an increase in SAT cumulative scores for entering students by 25%, helped raise $55 million for capital improvement, operations, and endowment, and oversaw an increase in institutional endowment of 50%. Dr. Smith’s wife, Jackie, works part time for DBU. They have two grown children, Tim and his wife, Michelle, who live in Las Colinas, Texas; and Alida and her husband, Matt, who make their home in Encino, California.