Graduation Friday | Law, Pharmacy & Health Sciences, & Divinity award 334 degrees over 3 ceremonies

BUIES CREEK, North Carolina  — Campbell University’s School of Law, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and the Divinity School conferred 334 degrees over three ceremonies Friday, May 13.
Campbell will hold its two final commencement exercises Saturday, May 14. The main ceremony will be at 9 a.m. in the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. The Adult & Online Education program will award degrees at 3 p.m. in Turner Auditorium.

Articles on the three Friday ceremonies follow:

  • Campbell Divinity | Campbell Divinity graduates urged to take up the mantle even when it’s a struggle
  • College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences | Pharmacy & Health Sciences grads encouraged to ‘fail forward’
  • Campbell Law | Campbell Law confers 102 degrees
  • Campbell Divinity | Campbell Divinity graduates urged to take up the mantle even when it’s a struggle

BUIES CREEK — Ministry is not easy. In fact, it is a struggle, said Campbell University Divinity School Dean Andy Wakefield in the Charge to the Graduates he delivered to the 36 Campbell Divinity students who received their degrees during a commencement ceremony Friday night, May 13, in Turner Auditorium.

There will be conflicts, disagreements, and divisions; there will be 18 funerals in a four-month span and other tragedies after tragedies; and there will be attacks on identity and emotions and other intangibles.

“It seems to me that ministry, more than perhaps any other profession, offers this dilemma: How do we as ministers care without being consumed? How are we able to be transparent without being trampled on? How do we absorb all the pain and fear and anger and sins with the people that we minister to without dissolving into despair or desperation?” Wakefield said. “We are called, graduates, to struggle.”

How can graduating students prepare for the struggle? Wakefield encouraged them to heed the advice Paul gave in Ephesians 6:10-17.

“When you face the struggles that lie ahead, Campbell Divinity graduates,” Wakefield said, “put on the armor of God and take up the mantle.” Also arm yourselves with a tangible reminder of that armor, he added. A possible tangible reminder? Their academic hoods.

Before receiving their degrees, each of the 36 graduating students received an academic hood. The hood represents the degrees the students earned, their discipline of study, and the school that awarded their degrees.

The hood “represents the mantle we’re passing on to you and the mantle that you are taking up,” Wakefield said. “Let the experience of receiving the hood be an act of receiving and taking on the role that God has called you to.”

Below is a look at three of the Campbell Divinity students who graduated May 13. In all, three students received their Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, 30 their Master of Divinity, and three their Doctor of Ministry degrees.

Kendra N. Sumler ’16 MDIV: Everything we do at Campbell Divinity is about ministry

Degree | Master of Divinity
Hometown | Raeford, North Carolina
Undergraduate College | Fayetteville State University

The Campbell University Divinity School has prepared Kendra Sumler well for her next stop: a residency chaplaincy at UNC Hospital, she said.

She received a solid Bible-based, Christ-centered, and ministry-focused theological education. She completed her clinical pastoral education at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Southern Pines. And she built relationships that make for more than just a network but a family.

As she prepared to serve in a ministry of chaplaincy and counseling during her time at Campbell Divinity, though, what prepared her the most was watching a classmate battle cancer.

“She was battling cancer and still took the time to get to know others, listen to what brought them here, show up, and support them when they were struggling,” Sumler said. “Everything we do at Campbell Divinity do is about ministry, and she showed how to do that and how to build bridges and communities.”

Sumler’s experiences at Campbell Divinity were also affirming, she said.

Since her early teens, she had been involved in ministry. She taught Sunday school; she sang with the praise and worship team; and she worked with the youth ministry. But she never thought about attending divinity school and entering the ministry full time.

After graduating from Fayetteville State University, she worked as an art teacher for a couple years. Then she worked as a publications coordinator at a church and later as an administrator at another one. She tried several other things, too, but nothing felt right or meaningful. There had to be something more, she told herself.

She spent time praying and fasting and asking God what to do. One day she was scrolling through Facebook when she came across a friend’s post about being a student at Campbell Divinity. Sumler was somewhat familiar with Campbell University, but she didn’t know there was a Campbell Divinity.

Sumler’s friend kept posting about her Campbell Divinity experiences. In time, Sumler gave her friend a call. Her friend told her that she was experiencing God in a way that she had never before.
Sumler met with the Campbell Divinity’s admissions director. “I got the sense this was where I needed to be,” Sumler said. “I’ll miss the classrooms. I’ll miss the books. I’ll miss studying. I’m miss reviewing papers together. I’ll miss eating together. Mostly I’ll miss the relationships.I’ve gained an extended family here. That is a springboard for what is to come.”

Lance and Susan Bass ‘16MDIV | Campbell Divinity is not just a school; it’s a community

Lane Bass
Degree | Master of Divinity
Hometown | Union County, North Carolina
Undergraduate College | Wingate University
Susan Bass
Degree | Master of Divinity
Hometown | Richlands, North Carolina
Undergraduate College | UNC-Chapel Hill

Two days after they both graduate from Campbell Divinity, Lane and Susan Bass will set off in an R.V. for Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota. The couple will spend the summer there serving with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.

The nonprofit places seminarians and college students in parks around country to do relational ministry with seasonal staff and lead weekly worship services.

“It’s an opportunity to do ministry in a non-traditional setting,” Susan said.

If they enjoy their summer experience, they’ll look at serving at another park and then perhaps another and another. Eventually, Lane imagines he’ll serve in a traditional congregational context, and Susan in a non-traditional context of ministry.

Wherever they end up, they said, Campbell Divinity will hold a special place in their heart. It’s where they met.

They shared a class together during their first semester at Campbell Divinity in the fall of 2012.

Susan wasn’t looking for a relationship, and Lane was a little shy. They started as friends.

One day Lane spotted Susan in the library staring confusedly at a stack of books as she began an assignment. He asked her if she needed help. She said yes, he helped her, and they got dinner after.

They married in December 2014.

“People make jokes about how many people meet their spouses here, and it is a great place to meet a spouse,” Susan said. “It was great to experience Campbell Divinity with him.”

They bounced ideas off each other, reflected on class discussions together, shared textbooks, and lifted each other up.

“Our whole relationship, from inception to engagement to marriage, happened against the backdrop of Campbell Divinity, so it will necessarily always be an incredibly special place for us,” Lane said.

Campbell Divinity is also special because “it’s more than just a school,” Susan said. “It’s a community.”

Lane saw that community spirit during his first visit to Campbell Divinity. He had been accepted to his first choice for divinity school. But when he visited Campbell Divinity, he fell in love with it.

The daughter of a Campbell graduate, Susan didn’t apply anywhere else.

“Everybody cares about you here,” Lane said. “Students, staff, and faculty are interested in far more than how you do as a student. They care about your whole life. You can expect people to show up at weddings and ordinations, you can expect prayers when things are difficult, you can expect questions about your family, friends, and jobs.”

The Campbell Divinity professors are ministers first, too, he added. “All understand that they are there to do something more than disseminate information. They know their role is to train ministers who are attentive to God’s call and willing and able to answer.”

College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences | Pharmacy & Health Sciences grads encouraged to ‘fail forward’

BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) celebrated its 27th commencement exercise at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center Friday, May 13, 2016. Joseph Moose, PharmD ’90, clinical pharmacist and co-owner of Moose Pharmacy, delivered the commencement address.

“If each of you touches six patients/clients/students a day for a 30-year career, you will impact 9.3 million people,” said Moose at the beginning of his address. “That is the population of North Carolina.”

A member of the charter class of pharmacy graduates from Campbell, Moose shared a unique message with the Class of 2016. His topic of choice was failure.

“Most of the graduation talks that will be happening over this weekend around the country will all be centered around ‘success’,” he said. “I’m here to tell you failure shapes your life more than success.”

He shared a story of an undergraduate professor who suggested he was not cut out to be a pharmacist; he met that same professor nine years later in a nursing home after he caught an error in the professor’s father’s medical chart. He also shared a story of attempting to implement an innovative hospital readmission prevention program in his pharmacy and having to readjust multiple times before seeing success. He then urged the class to look at failure as feedback and to respond to that feedback by trying to correct the failure and make it better.

“Fail forward with each attempt, iteration after iteration to make something better,” he said. “Failing forward might be called innovation.”

The ceremony also recognized 17 individuals who earned Senior Awards, nine students who earned lipid management certificates, 48 students who earned APhA diabetes certificates, and 23 students who were inducted into the Rho Chi Honor Society. Also, the entire PharmD Class of 2016 completed the requirement for the immunizations certificate program.

The CPHS Class of 2016 is comprised of 191 graduates who were awarded undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.

Campbell Law | Campbell Law confers 102 degrees

RALEIGH, North Carolina – Campbell Law School conferred 102 Juris Doctor degrees at its 38th annual hooding and graduation ceremony on Friday at Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Supreme Court of North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin delivered the commencement address.

The Class of 2016 is comprised of 101 graduates, while the law school also awarded one degree to an August 2015 graduate. Thirty-nine different undergraduate institutions were represented in the commencement exercise.

“As you begin your private careers, I charge you to also realize the tremendous influence you have, both as a lawyer and a Campbell lawyer, and throw yourselves into the public life of our state and nation,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard. “We face vexing problems that cannot be resolved by obscene amounts of money and partisan sound bites.”

“Law is the bedrock of our government for the people and by the people,” said Chief Justice Martin. “You recognize that the law has an established meaning that is independent of one person’s formative views.

“We live in tumultuous times. As lawyers, you can help renew our society’s commitment to renew the American compact we all share. A compact based not on race or creed but on civil idealism. The study and practice of law promotes many of those ideals.”

The law school took advantage of the ceremony to formally bid adieu to professors Margaret Currin and Bryan Boyd. Professor Currin is retiring from full-time teaching following graduation, while Professor Boyd has been named the next clerk of court for the Supreme Court of North Carolina effective June 1.

The ceremony also marked the first with the law school for new Campbell University President J. Bradley Creed.