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September 2022

Give Me That Mountain!


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Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit

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Williford Retires From Institutional Advancement

David Williford (below) recently retired from his long-standing role as vice president for institutional advancement at Welch College.

“David Williford has been one of the longest-standing leaders in the history of Welch College, and it’s hard to see him go,” Pinson said, commenting on Williford’s two-decade tenure. “Not only has Mr. Williford been a top advocate for Welch, but he’s also built bridges for the college across its alumni, denominational, and donor constituencies and served as a pace-setter in fundraising and denominational relations.”


Williford was Pinson’s first major hire in early 2002 after being named Welch’s president-elect in late 2001. “I heard David preach at First FWB Church in Chipley, Florida, my last Sunday before moving to Nashville. He had been serving as part-time promotional director for the Florida State Association. I knew right then he had to be at Welch.”

A native of Slocomb, Alabama, Williford married Donna in 1973, and they came to Welch for David to enroll as a student in 1976. The Willifords have two children, Michael and Stephanie, both Welch alumni. Williford established himself as an effective pastor of Free Will Baptist churches in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida before being named promotional director for Florida Free Will Baptists in 2000. He served two terms as a member of the Free Will Baptist International Missions Board.

In addition to representing Welch across diverse constituencies, Williford oversaw the most productive era of fundraising in Welch’s history, with more than $12 million raised thus far toward the ongoing Building on the Legacy campaign for Welch’s recently constructed campus in Gallatin, Tennessee.

“David Williford has been not only a loyal and effective chief advancement officer for the college but also a trusted friend and advisor to me,” Pinson said. “Our plans are to keep him part-time as fundraiser and Welch ambassador as he moves into retirement from his vice president role.”
Williford completed his full-time work in June, having served 20 years in the position.


Welch College Graduates 41 in 2022 Commencement Exercises

Welch College conferred degrees on 41 students, according to Provost Matthew McAffee. Commencement exercises were held in the Student Activities Center. The gymnasium space was converted into a 700-plus seating auditorium for the baccalaureate service Thursday evening, May 5, and the commencement ceremony on Friday morning, May 6.

Dr. Paul Harrison, pastor of Madison FWB Church in Madison, Alabama, delivered the commencement address, urging graduates to wage war with the weapons of God—seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. Rev. Steve Lindsay, pastor of Red Bay FWB Church in Red Bay, Alabama, delivered the baccalaureate sermon, providing a character study on the life of John the Baptist and urging graduates to follow in his example of living lives that make an impact for Christ.


President Matt Pinson recognized retiree David Williford for 20 years of faithful service as vice president of institutional advancement. He worked to establish relationships with churches and individual donors and was vital in funding the Building on the Legacy campaign. Dr. Jeff Crabtree, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees, recognized President Pinson and his wife Melinda for 20 years of service in the role of college president. Dr. Sarah Bracey, program coordinator of psychology and campus counselor, was named Academic Advisor of the Year.

The college congratulates the 2022 graduating class and commends them to the service of Christ’s Kingdom.


Associate of Science Degrees

Macey Elyse Bowman
Tullahoma, Tennessee

Charles Buford Elam, Jr.
La Vergne, Tennessee

Adam Anthony McKinnis†
Birchwood, Tennessee

Joshua Bennett Simpson
Hendersonville, Tennessee

Samesha Chantel Thomas
Gallatin, Tennessee


Associate of Arts Degree

Tiphany Renee Smith
Bethpage, Tennessee


Bachelor of Science Degrees

Emelia Grace Barnett***
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-5

Lauren Elizabeth Batey**
Cross Plains, Tennessee
Business Administration

Abby Grace Bragg***
Senoia, Georgia
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-5

Sara Jean Carman***
Hartsville, Tennessee
English, Licensure 6-12

Luke Robert Charlton
Nashville, Tennessee
Business Administration

Hannah Eve Dyson
Greenville, North Carolina
Business Administration

Bryson Andrew Foulks***†
Chuckey, Tennessee
Exercise Science

Alexandrea Katherine Foust**
Gallatin, Tennessee
General Christian Ministry

Michael Joseph Fulcher**
Ormonsville, North Carolina
Mathematics Education, Licensure 6-12

Jorden Brice Hoffman
Ashland City, Tennessee
Youth and Family Ministry

Cheyenne Meagan Johnson*
Cedar Hill, Tennessee
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-5

Krista Janae Lindsay**
Red Bay, Alabama
Business Administration

Jonathan Peter Lisbona
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Exercise Science

Meredith Anne Locklear***
Gastonia, North Carolina
Mathematics Education, Licensure 6-12
Music Education, Licensure K-12

Victoria Rose Masters**
Ahoskie, North Carolina
Business Administration

James Ben Miller III
New Boston, Michigan
Pastoral Ministry

Jonathan Garrett Pelleaux*
Smyrna, Tennessee
Business Administration

Abigail Renee Scott**
Raleigh, North Carolina
Biology Education
Licensure 6-12

Devan Luke Sexton**†
Owasso, Oklahoma
General Christian Ministry

Spencer Ryan Smith†
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Business Administration

Sydney Shae Walker**
Washington, North Carolina
Business Administration

Zealtiel Zuñiga Anaya***
Springdale, Arkansas
Music Performance


Bachelor of Arts Degrees

Benjamin Andrew Barcroft***
Jacksonville, Illinois
Intercultural Studies

Sarah Elizabeth Benton*
Trenton, North Carolina

Micah Quentin Borck***
Lebanon, Tennessee

Karah Nicole Delgado*
Cottontown, Tennessee
Intercultural Studies

Alexander Ray Johnson***
Alpedrete, Spain
Intercultural Studies
Worship Ministry

Ryan Thomas Payne***
Ina, Illinois
Biblical Studies

Anna Elizabeth Pinson***
Gallatin, Tennessee

Brooklyn Paige Strickland
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Humanities and Arts

Ashten Leigh Winter
Decatur, Illinois
Intercultural Studies


Master of Arts Degree

Gregory Allen Eaton†
Waynesboro, Tennessee
Theology and Ministry
Thesis: History of the Tennessee River Free Will Baptist Association


Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees

John William Lancaster†
Nashville, Tennessee
Thesis: Effectiveness of WIDA English Language Development Standards in Moving English Learners Toward Proficiency

Andrea Michelle Mefford
Kinston, North Carolina
Special Education
Authentic Learning Experience Compendium: Special Education Services within the Christian School Environment

Morgan Blake Riffey
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Thesis: A Proposal for Restorative Justice Implementation in High School Education

*** Summa Cum Laude - 3.75
** Magna Cum Laude - 3.50
* Cum Laude - 3.25
† Not Present


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists