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Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1951. To find out more information about the school, visit their website at


Photo: Student Body President Matthew Bracey pictured with Casey Deel.



NASHVILLE, TN Free Will Baptist Bible College President J. Matthew Pinson completed graduate work at Vanderbilt University and received the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in higher education leadership and policy during commencement exercises May 11. 

President Pinson said, “This doctoral degree in higher education leadership was a great learning experience and something I can put to use immediately in light of the new graduate and undergraduate programs we’re launching here at FWBBC.  I’m thankful to the Board of Trustees and to the college faculty and staff for their understanding and encouragement through the process.”

A fifth generation Free Will Baptist, Dr. Pinson was inaugurated as the fifth president of FWBBC September 2002, one day after his 35th birthday.  He completed the Ed.D. degree at Vanderbilt during the fifth year of his presidency. 

Under Pinson’s leadership, enrollment at FWBBC has surged from 281 to 420, setting a 22-year high in 2006-2007. The largest graduating class in 23 years (78 students) received FWBBC degrees in May.  Net revenues for the college have increased 43 percent in five years, nearing the $6 million mark annually.

An alumnus of Free Will Baptist Bible College, Dr. Pinson completed two degrees at the University of West Florida (B.A in 1990; M.A. in 1993), and the Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) at Yale University (1994).
Matt and Melinda Pinson have two children, Anna (7) and Matthew (5).




NASHVILLE, TN More than 35 students were cited for academic excellence, Christian service, and other awards during commencement week celebrations May 1-4, according to President J. Matthew Pinson. The annual recognitions were announced during final-week activities in Awards Chapel and Commencement Exercises. Nearly 50 scholarships totaling more than $73,000 were awarded to students.

The following recognitions and awards were made:

Best All-Around Girl: Ashley Coker (TN)
Best All-Around Boy: Derek Altom (IN)
Most Outstanding Student: Ashley Coker (TN)
Student Body President Medal: David Jones (MO)

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges:
            Jennifer Altom (TN)
            Drew Bigley (IL)
            Ashley Coker (TN)
            Tonya Corbett (VA)
            Joshua Detherage (AL)
            Carolyn Head (TN)
            Mark Headrick (MO)
            David Jones (MO)
            Jill McAlister (CA)
            Leslie Meadows (KY)
            Bethany Parks (TN)
            Alan Skiles (AL)
            Susan Stewart (TN)
            Megan Wilfong (MO)

Seniors inducted into Delta Epsilon Chi Honor Society (ABHE):
            Drew Bigley (IL)
            Susan Stewart (TN)
            Ashley Coker (TN)

Graduating Seniors with highest grade point average (4.0):
            Drew Bigley (IL)
            Ashley Coker (TN)
            Susan Stewart (TN)
Students with highest grade point average (all with 4.0):
            Freshman: Samuel Benninghoff (TN), Elisabeth Franks (AL), Leah McDonald (Japan), Trisha             Stacks (MO), Kera Zint (IN)
            Sophomore: Kristen Edwards (SC), Derek Lewis (IL)
            Junior: Ryan Akers (TN), Brandy Howell (TN)
            Senior (non-graduating) with highest grade point average (3.81) Shawn Birmingham (MS)

Evangelical Training Association Diploma: 43 diplomas awarded
            Turner Leadership Award: David Jones (MO)

Adult Degree Program Students of Excellence:
            Bible: Jacob Scrimpshire (TN)
            Business: Carolyn Head (TN)
            Teacher Education: Brian Lewis (TN)

Christian Service Group of the Year: Knowles Health Care
Christian Service Leader of the Year: Daniel Speer (TN)
Christian Service Perfect Attendance: 59 Students

Spirit Trophy
Men’s: William Jennings Bryan Society
Women’s: Charlotte Bronte Society

Helen Ketteman Smith Award of Excellence in Business: Leslie Meadows (KY)
Ann Pate Outstanding Teacher Award: Ashley Coker (TN)
Music Theory Award: Phillip Morgan (TN)
History Award: Jennifer Altom (TN)
The Bert & Dianne Tippett Award: Bert and Dianne Tippett
Academic Advisor of the Year: Kathy Murphy

Freshman Essay Award:
            First Place—Kurston Ward (AR)
            Second Place—Beth Pool (NC)
            Third Place—Elizabeth Franks (AL)

Educational Scholarships:
            Dr. L.C. & Mrs. Ruth Johnson Scholarship: John Landing (MI)--$1,200
            Zach Yoho Memorial Scholarship: Bryce Mims (SC)--$250
            Paul J. Ketteman Memorial Scholarship: Paul Gillikin (NC)--$600 
            Alumni Scholarship: Jesse Owens (TN)--$1,000
            Ashlee Powelka Missionary Scholarship: Rachel Dennis (AR)--$1,400
            Dr. & Mrs. Stanley Outlaw Biblical Studies Scholarship: Brandy Howell (TN)--$1,200
            Dr. Robert E. Woodard Pastoral Ministry Scholarship: Daniel Landers (AR)--$1,200
            Rev. Ronald & Mary Belle Creech Scholarship: Joshua Crozier (TN)--$1,200
            SB Presidential Leadership Scholarship: Matt Bracey (TN)--$750
            Master of Leadership Scholarship: Heidi Lane (OH)--$500
            Edscholar: Megan Nelson (TN)--$28,000
            General Scholarships: 39 more scholarships awarded




NASHVILLE, TN Free Will Baptist Bible College graduated 78 students during commencement exercises, Friday, May 4, its largest class in 23 years, according to President Matt Pinson.  Graduates came from 17 states and four foreign countries. 

Students completed degrees in five programs ranging from two-year associate’s degrees to four-year bachelor’s degrees.  Thirty-seven percent of the class graduated with honors, according to Provost Greg Ketteman.

Robert J. Morgan, nationally-acclaimed author and senior pastor at Donelson FWB Church in Nashville, brought the 14-minute commencement address from Romans 8:28 on “Optimism,” explaining the strong biblical basis for the believer’s optimistic point of view in a world frequently defined by philosophical pessimists.

North Carolina pastor Rusty Russell, whose daughter Jenny was among the 2007 graduates, preached the baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening from Psalm 11 on the theme, “How to Turn Your Trouble Around.”  Reverend Russell pastors Peace FWB Church in Wilson.

Associate of Science in Business Degrees
Elizabeth Ashley Dennis, Vilonia, AR
Jeremy Delbert Luthy, Amelia, OH

Associate of Science in Early Childhood Degrees
Allison Michelle Hall, Rockingham, NC
Brittney Nicole Holcomb, North Judson, IN
Jessica Bailey Klug, St. Claire Shores, MI

Associate of Arts Degrees
Douglas Scott Bishop, Sapporo, Japan                                   
Laura Jean Dooley, Austintown, OH
Vanessa Ann Powell, Johnsonville, SC
Youngsoon Shin, Andong, South Korea
Sarah Aldridge Skiles, Brandon, FL
Kasey Lynn Lundquist, Goldsboro, NC

Bachelor of Science Degrees
Jennifer Elizabeth Altom, Mt. Juliet, TN**
Drew Allen Bigley, Ina, IL***
Lauren Marie Cameron, Garden City, MI**
Julia Carolyn Campbell, Chicago, IL
Ashley Ellen Coker, Woodlawn, TN***
Elizabeth Spruill Colf, Virginia Beach, VA
Tabitha Renee Corbett, Virginia Beach, VA **
Tonya Nichole Corbett, Virginia Beach, VA**
David Donnell Corprew, Exercise Science, Norfolk, VA
Tyrone Michael Crews, Jesup, GA*
Brooke Allison Dickerson, Limestone, TN
Matthew Scott Dunlap, Nashville, TN
Jonathan Dale Eastridge, Ashland, KY
Joshua Brian Eidson, Greenbrier, TN***
Jesse Daniel Fletcher, Antioch, TN*
Mary Elizabeth Frixen, Norfolk, VA
Amy Rebekah Gladson, Franklin, TN**
Jarrod Lee Greer, Tupelo, MS
Graham Guy Hart, New Bern, NC
Carolyn Faye Head, Springfield, TN
Erik O’Neil Hearn, Durham, NC *
David Richard Hodges, Kathleen, GA
Joseph Christian Huls, Olive Branch, MS***
David Eugene Inman, Pleasant View, TN

Ryan Eugene Johnston, DeSoto, MO*
David Thomas Jones, Fenton, MO***
Susan Renee Eastridge Lawrence, Cattlettsburg, KY
Michael James Lemons, Mt. Vernon, IL
Allison Marie Lutes, Lombard, IL**
Jill Nicole McAlister, Farmersville, CA***
Joshua Lee McMillan, Jonesboro, AR
Leslie Anna Meadows, Lexington, KY***
Bethany Dawn Parks, Pleasant View, TN *
Brian Lee Phillips, Desha, AR
Richard Lamar Polston, Jr., Portsmouth, VA
Aaron Todd Pontious. Norfolk, VA
Casey Dawn Pontious, Locust Grove, OK*
Barry Keith Powers, Flatwoods, KY
Matthew Scott Price, Gastonia, NC *
Brandon Scott Roysden, Baxter, TN *
Jonathan Daniel Runion, Riverview, MI
Jennifer Ruth Russell, Wilson, NC
Daniel Courtney Simpson, Fairfield, IL
Christina Elizabeth Sizemore, Sulligent, AL
Alex Christopher Sloan, Wabash, IN
Janet Angela Smith-Simms, Grand Bahamas, Bahamas
Susan Burden Stewart, Knoxville, TN***
Barbara Leigh Stone, Norfolk, VA
Phillip Gordon Sutton, Apex, NC
Jessica Blair Thielemier, Pocahontas, AR
Heather Erin Watkins, Batesville, AR
Megan Nicole Wilfong, Park Hills, MO ***
Elizabeth Sue Willhite, Pleasant View, TN
Lyle Andrew Williams, Pocahontas, AR
Olga Anatolyevna Zavozina, Tyumen, Russia

Bachelor of Arts Degrees
Derek Allen Altom, New Castle, IN
Edward Lewis Colf, Virginia Beach, VA
Joshua Wayne Detherage, Huntsville, AL***
Josue Droz, Virginia Beach, VA**
Andrew Paul Harrison, Nashville, TN
James Norris Judkins, Monticello, AR**
Derek Nathaniel Lambert, Bentonville, AR           
Jeremy Delbert Luthy, Amelia, OH***
Jared Andrew Oakes, Knoxville, TN
Ashley Michelle Price, Statesboro, GA***
Alan Ray Skiles, Guin, AL**
Daniel Anthony Speer, Charlotte, TN
William Jackson Watts, Turbeville, SC**

* cum laude
** magna cum laude
*** summa cum laude




NASHVILLE, TN The spring 2007 semester at Free Will Baptist Bible College ended with 130 students earning academic recognition, according to Provost Greg Ketteman. Thirty-seven students made all As and were placed on the President’s List—20 seniors, six juniors, five sophomores, and six freshmen.  Ninety-three students earned a B average or higher and were placed on the Dean’s List—28 seniors, 27 juniors, 19 sophomores, and 19 freshmen.

Find a complete listing of academic honors at (coming soon)




NASHVILLE, TN One hundred ten students and sponsors from 15 states attended Spring 2007 Welcome Days at Free Will Baptist Bible College, according to Ryan Lewis, director of recruitment.  The largest state contingency was 19 from South Carolina, while the largest group from one church was 14 from Horse Branch FWB Church in Turbeville.

The Welcome Days campus guests attended classes and chapel, then cheered and laughed during a Flames Alumni Basketball Game and Hawaiian Luau.  President Matt Pinson hosted a reception for high school seniors, recent graduates, and sponsors.

Mr. Lewis said, “A 19-year-old FWBBC freshman (Zach Yoho) died on Friday during Welcome Days.  As the faculty, staff, and students grieved Zach’s loss, visiting students and sponsors experienced first-hand the caring and warm FWBBC community and family atmosphere.”
More than 200 prospective students visited the FWBBC during the 2006-2007 academic year.  The college will sponsor two Welcome Days during the 2007-2008 school year: Fall 2007—October 19-20; Spring 2008—March 27-29.




NASHVILLE, TN Free Will Baptist Bible College has named Mrs. Deloris Darlene (D.D.) Vandivort as women’s volleyball coach, according to Mike Phillips, the college’s athletic director.  She begins her new duties this fall.

Mr. Phillips said, “We’re so pleased that D.D. has agreed to lead the women’s volleyball program.  She has an excellent understanding of the game and a strong athletic background.”

Mrs. Vandivort played volleyball nine years in high school and college, and has conducted volleyball camps.  She also ran track and taught gymnastics.

“I love the sport,” D.D. said, “and I’m eager to begin the training necessary to compete on the collegiate level.  We have a good nucleus of returning players from last year’s team, and we’ll recruit from the current student body as well as incoming freshmen.”

Born in California and raised in rural Missouri, Vandivort graduated from Missouri Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1988 as a registered nurse and now works at Nashville’s St. Thomas Hospital.  She attended FWBBC three semesters before serving as a missionary in Coté d’Ivoire, West Africa.



NASHVILLE, TN Nineteen-year-old business student, Zachary Charles Yoho, was found dead in his dormitory room shortly after chapel Friday morning, March 30, according to FWBBC Provost, Dr. Greg Ketteman. The cause of death was unknown, however, Yoho’s parents confirmed that he was diabetic and had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Ketteman said, “Every student is important to us.  We love them and pray for them, and Zach was one of those students who brought smiles wherever he went.”

“Zach” Yoho was born September 28, 1987, in Springfield, Ohio, the only child of Wesley and Janet Yoho of West Liberty.  He was a member of Urbana FWB Church.  Seventy FWBBC students, staff, and faculty traveled to Ohio for the April 4 funeral.

Yoho had just returned from spring tour with the College Choir where he represented FWBBC in services in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.  He also participated in Rejoice, another college musical group as a sound technician.  He had worked in the college’s call center with the Enrollment Management Team, and was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Society.

Zach graduated from West Liberty Salem High School in 2006 where he sang in the school choir four years, and played drums for the marching and concert bands.  He was a skilled photographer, and won numerous awards at the Champaign County Fair.  He was part of a missionary E-Team that traveled to France in 2006.  He participated in the Truth and Peace Leadership Conferences sponsored by Randall House

During a memorial service conducted on campus April 11, President Matt Pinson said, “We were stunned and saddened by Zach’s unexpected death.  He was a well liked and respected student, always open and friendly, and eager to make a difference in God’s world.  We grieve the loss of this fine young man with so much promise.”

Zach’s death occurred during Welcome Days with more than 100 visiting high school students on campus.
Mr. Michael Walker, chair of FWBBC’s Business Department, informed memorial service attendees, “Zach recently told me that he wanted to finish well.  I believe he did.”

Walker presented plaques honoring Yoho to President Pinson and to Zach’s parents.  He announced that the “Zach Yoho Memorial Scholarship” had been established and would be awarded each spring to returning Business students.


©2007 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists