DBU Celebrates Spring Commencement on the Hill

Commencement speaker Jurie Kriel
Commencement speaker Jurie Kriel

With necessary precautions in place, Dallas Baptist University held four in-person Spring Commencement ceremonies in Pilgrim Chapel on May 13 and 14, celebrating 333 bachelor's graduates, 209 master's graduates, and 12 doctoral graduates.

In his opening remarks to the graduating class of 2021, Dr. Wright encouraged this new generation of alumni who are being called out to serve the Lord in these especially unusual and difficult times that they must daily seek wisdom, spiritual discernment, and learn to wait upon the Lord. "Too often we get ahead of God. We should be reflective, still, and wait. God will show you. He will make His will evident and known if we will truly pray 'Thy will be done.'"

During each of the commencement services, special addresses were given by three beloved Christian leaders who have each impacted both DBU and the world for Christ.

10:00 a.m. Thursday and 3:00 p.m: Jurie Kriel

Jurie Kriel, together with his wife Karin, are innovating 5twelve City Church, reaching the urban core of Austin, Texas. Jurie also co-founded and leads NXT Move, serves as the catalyst for cities for the Lausanne Movement, works closely with Movement.org, led the team that initiated Movement Day Africa, and co-founded and led the Timothy Ministry Training seminary. As a part of Doxa Deo leadership in South Africa, Jurie was a senior pastor overseeing six campuses in Pretoria, South Africa. He currently holds the position of CEO of Movement DFW and serves as a church consultant, influencing and helping plant churches in key cities around the world. Jurie and Karin have been married for 20 years and have two boys, Joshua and Ethan.

10:00 a.m. Friday Commencement Service: Dr. Mike Simmons

Dr. Mike Simmons has served as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, Texas for the past 30 years. Dr. Simmons obtained his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (now Virginia Tech). He later earned his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry from Newburg Theological Seminary and Bible College. He has served on numerous committees through the Dallas Baptist Association and the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. Dr. Simmons has also been an adjunct instructor in the College of Christian Faith at DBU since 2011. Dr. Simmons and his wife Beverly have three children and will celebrate 40 years of marriage this summer.

3:00 p.m. Friday Commencement Service: Dr. Jan Daehnert

Dr. William Jan Daehnert was ordained at Calvary Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree at Howard Payne University, Dr. Daehnert went on to also obtain his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Daehnert served as a full-time staff member at the Baptist General Convention of Texas, has led congregations and their members in nearly 450 mediations, and has stepped in as interim pastor in 58 churches across Texas. He joined the DBU Family in 1998 and is currently serving as an Associate Professor and as the interim director of the Master of Arts in Student Ministry Program. Upon retirement later this year, he will begin serving as Director of the Ministry Guidance Program at DBU. Dr. Daehnert and his wife Carol have two children and four grandchildren. The Daehnerts are members of Plymouth Park Baptist Church, where they have served for more than 40 years.

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for the University Communications department at Dallas Baptist University.