Baylor University Celebrates Fall Commencement

  • News Photo 3904
    Dr. Glenn Hilburn presented M.L. "Hub" Northen with his official Baylor degree on Dec. 3 in Shreveport, La.
  • News Photo 3905
    M.L. "Hub" Northen
Dec. 15, 2006

by Paige Patton, coordinator of news and information, (254) 710-3321

Baylor University will confer degrees on more than 700 graduates during commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, in the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus.

President John M. Lilley will present diplomas to graduates of the School of Social Work, School of Engineering and Computer Science, School of Music, Hankamer School of Business, Louise Herrington School of Nursing, School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School. Lilley will be assisted by Dr. Randall O'Brien, executive vice president and provost.

Greetings will be brought by Jim L. Turner, chair of the Baylor board of regents. Dr. Harold W. Osborne, professor emeritus of sociology and master teacher, will act as bearer of the mace. George Cowden III, president-elect of the Baylor Alumni Association, will present a welcome message to the new graduates.

Before presenting graduates from Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, Dean Terry Maness will recognize Marvin "Hub" Northen of Shreveport, La., who at 100 years old holds the distinction of being the oldest person to graduate from Baylor. Because of health reasons, Northen will not be in attendance but will be formally recognized and his name is listed in the program among the December graduates.

Northen attended Baylor during the 1920s, but because of financial difficulties during the Great Depression, had to leave school in 1929, only one class short (a chemistry class) of graduation. A diploma was accidentally mailed to Northen's home in Holland, Texas, in 1929, but he could not afford return postage and kept it tucked away in his attic.

Throughout his life, Northen has remained a loyal Baylor supporter, yet never claimed to be a Baylor graduate. However, his family discovered the diploma several years ago in a rolled up group of papers. Unbeknownst to Northen, they contacted Baylor and began to work with university officials to ensure he received a degree.

All their efforts paid off on Dec. 3, when Baylor officials presented Northen with his bachelor of business administration degree during Sunday morning services at Trinity Heights Baptist Church in Shreveport.

One of several letters read during that church service was from Dr. David E. Pennington, interim chair and professor of chemistry at Baylor: "...I understand... that you have held on to a signed diploma proclaiming your degree from Baylor University. But because of your honesty you never claimed to have earned that degree because you lacked a single chemistry course, Chemistry 101. Therefore, it is my genuine pleasure to inform you that because of your honesty and eighty-one years of experience in the interim, you are hereby granted credit for Chemistry 101, fulfilling the last of your formal degree requirements for that BBA degree and legitimizing your status as a genuine graduate of Baylor University."

The full story of Mr. Northen's degree conferral can be viewed here.

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas and affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in the state and the largest Baptist university in the world.

Baylor's 735-acre campus on the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, Texas, is home to nearly 14,000 students, who come from all 50 states and some 70 countries.

While remaining true to its heritage, Baylor's nationally recognized academic divisions provide 143 baccalaureate, 74 master's and 22 doctoral degree programs, two education specialists, juris doctor, master of divinity and doctor of divinity, through 11 academic units: College of Arts and Sciences, Hankamer School of Business, School of Education, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Honors College, Law School, School of Music, Louise Herrington School of Nursing, School of Social Work, George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Graduate School.

Committed unalterably to character and leadership development with a service orientation, Baylor encourages students to become involved in one or more of the 321 student organizations on campus. Exemplifying Baylor's commitment to lead the way in both learning and living, Baylor's alumni serve as ministers and judges, doctors and teachers, artists and business leaders.

In 2001, the Baylor Board of Regents unanimously approved Baylor 2012, the university's 10-year vision that outlines how Baylor will achieve new levels of excellence in its academic and community life, while reaffirming and deepening its distinctive Christian mission. Baylor 2012 includes 12 imperatives necessary for the university to become recognized as a "top tier" institution, ranging from academic and scholarly initiatives, to student life and campus expansion and improvement, to reaffirmation of faith-based learning, to athletics.

Spring commencement is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12, 2007, in the Ferrell Center for Arts and Sciences and related graduate programs and at 2:30 p.m. for Business, Engineering and Computer Science, Education, Music, Nursing, and related graduate programs.

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