GEORGETOWN, KY – Georgetown College’s Baccalaureate service held the evening before graduation offers a quieter, more intimate opportunity to pause and reflect on this rite of passage. Graduating seniors hear good advice from seasoned speakers and enjoy shared Biblical readings and messages in song. This year’s Baccalaureate speaker was Dr. John I. Durham, theologian and author.
In his remarks, Dr. Durham described how Elijah, Job, and Jesus visited places to learn, be challenged, but not to stay. He described Georgetown College as a place to learn, to graduate from, and move into the work God has for each one with the mystery of the Spirit and the vocation of God’s calling to serve one another.
Dr. Durham, now retired, has been a professor of religion and Old Testament theology at universities on several continents. He is author of The Biblical Rembrandt: Human Painter in a Landscape of Faith (Mercer University Press, 2004, 255 pages).
Georgetown’s ceremony is also a time for selected members of the campus family to be recognized for their dedication to Christ and exemplary service in His name. Each year, the College’s Marshall Center for Christian Ministry presents individual Christian Service Awards to a faculty member, a staff member, and a graduating senior nominated by the campus community. Each award is named for an outstanding Georgetown College alumnus and/or a former faculty or staff member.
The George Walker Redding Faculty Award, named for a 1927 alumnus who was a Bible professor at Georgetown College for 30 years, went to Karyn McKenzie, Professor of Psychology. A faculty member since 1996, Dr. McKenzie was described by one student nominator as “an incredible example of a life lived to serve, encourage, and inspire others.” Another said she is “one of the most compassionate, service-driven individuals that I have encountered. Her dedication to furthering the success of her students is phenomenal.”
Megan Redditt, Assistant Director of Student Wellness Center, was presented with the Kenneth Claiborne Fendley Staff Award. A 1949 alumnus, Fendley served Georgetown College for 30 years in public relations and fundraising. One of Megan’s nominators wrote that she “is an exemplary Christian servant on Georgetown’s campus. She has an optimistic, energetic presence, and goes above and beyond to ensure the health and flourishing of students, personally and professionally.”
The Norman and Martha Yocum Lytle Graduating Senior Award went to Betsie Phillips, a Magna Cum Laude Religion/Psychology major from Frankfort, Kentucky. The Lytle Award is named for 1957 graduates who spent a 34 year career as Baptist Missionaries in Israel and Russia. Of Ms. Phillips, a nominator described her as “easily one of the most involved students on Georgetown’s campus. [She] shows her Christian servant hood through attention and connection with others. She seeks to get to know and appreciate those around her, as well as develop her theological understanding and deepen her spirituality.”
Each honoree was presented with a certificate, a monetary gift, and a huge “Thank you” on behalf of the Marshall Center and the Georgetown College family. Funding is provided by the families of these beloved Georgetonians for whom the awards are named.
Photos: Jim Allison; Wesley Folson, Class of 2015