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September 2021

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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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Welch College Graduates 68 During May 7 Commencement

Welch College conferred degrees on 68 graduates for the class of 2021 and recognized 26 recipients of degrees from the class of 2020 on Friday, May 7, according to Provost Matthew McAffee.

The college held two commencement ceremonies in the Student Activities Center. Attendees for both ceremonies were scaled back due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols. Both ceremonies accommodated additional guests with overflow seating for livestream coverage in Celorio Auditorium.

During the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, the institution awarded all bachelor’s degrees to the Class of 2021. In the 2:00 p.m. ceremony, the college granted associate’s and master’s degrees for graduates of 2021 and recognized participants from the graduating Class of 2020.


Dr. Steve Lemke, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Provost Emeritus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the commencement address for both ceremonies. He challenged graduates to pursue their vocational aspirations as a spiritual calling. All graduates, regardless of major, he said, are being sent out on mission to make a difference in the world for the kingdom of Christ.

President Matt Pinson recognized Dr. Ron Callaway on his retirement from the faculty, the longest-serving Missions/Intercultural Studies professor in Welch history. The president also recognized Dr. Thurman Pate, former chair of the Teacher Education Department, for his retirement from the faculty in May 2020.

Other retiree recognitions included long-time Christian Service Director John Murray, who served three decades in this post after missionary service; former Director of Online Studies Allan Crowson, former Director of Cleaning Operations Ernie Thomson; and Special Assistant to the President Dr. Charles Lea.

The college commends to you and to the work of the Lord the members of the 2021 and 2020 graduating classes.


Class of 2021

Associate of Science Degrees

Laura Ann Boivin, Gallatin, TN - Early Childhood
Lee Ann Branch, Darlington, SC - Business
Katelynn Grace Chandler, De Soto, MO - Biology
Rebekah Elaine Ammini Chapman, Hannibal, MO - Biology
Julianna Celeste Foster, Hendersonville, TN - Biology
Kelli Savannah Kelly, Fayette, Alabama - Business
Halle Beth Lewis, Norman, OK - Biology
Shelby Louise Owens, La Vergne, TN - Biology
Ashleigh Marlene Sage, Wilson, NC - Biology
Lillian Claire Simpson, Hendersonville, TN - Biology
Kalena Elaine Taylor, Dover, TN - Teacher Education for Early Childhood
Naomi Duran Vazquez, Bethpage, TN - Biology

Associate of Arts Degrees

Loren Danielle Craig, Hermitage, TN - Teaching
Joy Faith Green, Pleasant Shade, TN - Teaching
Abigail Lynn Myers, Flat Rock, MI - Teaching

Bachelor of Science Degrees

Emily Elizabeth Abel* Hendersonville, TN, Child Development and Learning
Justice J. Alameda, Chattanooga, TN, Psychology
Catherine Rose Blades*** Cedar Hill, TN - Biology
Kenae Ashley Briggs, Chesterfield, VA - Psychology
Adam William Brown*** Eldorado, IL - Theological Studies
Mikaela Deanna Bullard** Virginia Beach, VA - Psychology
Blake Christopher Chandler*** Westmoreland, TN - Business Administration
Makenzie Grace Crain* Portland, TN - Psychology
Michaela Roshele Easley*** Dickson, TN - Early Childhood
James Wilson Gates, Pleasant View, TN - Exercise Science
Hannah Katherine Gorrell** Scott Depot, WV - Biology Education
Allyson Kate Greenwood* Nashville, TN - Elementary Education
Stacey Young Haralson, Nashville, TN - Theological Studies
Rachel DeAnn Hastings, Owasso, OK - Business Administration
Kelsey Renee Horton** Ashland City, TN - Child Development and Learning
Bryan Thomas Houser*** Chesterfield, VA - Music Performance
Jami Miranda Howell** Chipley, FL - Psychology
Daniel Elmore Hunter* Tuscaloosa, AL - Biology
Margaret Grace Jackson, Algood, TN - Theological Studies
Tyler Jordan Justice, Greenville, NC - Business
Samuel Arden Lane* Bluff City, TN - Psychology
John Andrew McClure, Pleasant View, TN - Music Performance
Destinee Autumn Payne*** Box Elder, SD - Child Development and Learning
Jonathan McGuire Payne*** Ina, IL - Theological Studies
Ashlee Rose Presley Oak Ridge, TN - Psychology
Laurel Madelyn Woodis Pruitt** White House, TN - Child Development and Learning
Elaine Taylor Park Pugh* Gallatin, TN - Psychology
Kendal Lee Ryan*** Ina, IL - English, Secondary Education
Ashley Rae Sammons, Westerville, OH - Psychology
Jim Bryson Taylor, Roan Mountain, TN - Theological Studies
William Garry Walker* Spruce Pine, AL - Theological Studies
Rebecca Lynn Wall* Belmont, NC - Psychology
Kullen Reece Williams*** Antioch, TN - Theological Studies
Emily Claire Wise* Lebanon, TN - Psychology
Andrew Bryant Yerby** Fayette, AL - Business Administration
Elizabeth Ann Yerby** Madison, AL - Child Development and Learning

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

Hailey Savannah Boyer* Fredericktown, MO - English
Hannah Katherine Goucher** Hernando, MS - Intercultural Studies
Taylor Melayne Pate** Lake Butler, FL - Intercultural Studies
Kasey L Perry, Goldsboro, NC - English
Mallie Scott Sharenberger*** Elmwood, TN - History
Jonathan Brooks Truett* Kinston, NC - Pastoral Ministry

Bachelor of Music Education

Summer Dawn Walker** Depew, NY - Music Education

Master of Arts Degrees

Derek Allen Altom, Old Hickory, TN - Theology and Ministry
Russell Douglas Houske, Gallatin, TN - Theology and Ministry
Joshua Allen Hunter, Pleasant View, TN - Theology and Ministry
Lazaro Riesgo, Miami, FL - Theology and Ministry
Matthew Wayne Rose, Coeburn, VA - Theology and Ministry
Carl David Short, Blue Springs, MO - Theology and Ministry

Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees

Jennifer Trice Morrison, Gallatin, TN - Special Education
Carrigan Taylor Pate, Hendersonville, TN - Teaching
Hannah Elizabeth Postlewaite, Christiansted, VI, Teaching
Maredith Claire Ryan, Hendersonville, TN - Instructional Leadership

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


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists