DBU Celebrates Over 500 New Graduates at Spring Commencement Services

DBU Graduates during Spring Commencement in the Pilgrim Chapel on the DBU Campus

DBU welcomed over 500 new undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral graduates into the DBU Alumni Family during this year’s spring commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 9, and Friday, May 10. There are now over 41,000 graduates worldwide who exemplify Christ and servant leadership in their careers.

10:00 a.m. Commencement Service, Thursday, May 9

Dr. Brent Taylor speaking at DBU's commencement ceremony

At the 10 a.m. service on Thursday, Dr. Brent Taylor provided the commencement address to graduates. Dr. Brent Taylor is the pastor of First Baptist Church at the Fields (formerly First Baptist Church, Carrollton), where he has served as pastor for over 25 years. He holds a degree in history from Baylor University, a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also an adjunct professor of American history and a current trustee at Dallas Baptist University. Dr. Taylor graduated with his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies, and he recently successfully defended his dissertation titled: “The President and the Playwright: How the Plays of William Shakespeare Influenced the Leadership of Abraham Lincoln.” Dr. Taylor teaches a class during DBU’s annual trip to Washington, D.C., where students learn about the founding fathers and the history of our country. Dr. Taylor is the author of Founding Leadership: Lessons on Business and Personal Leadership from the Men Who Brought You the American Revolution and Presidential Leadership: What Presidents Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader.

10:00 a.m. Commencement Service, Friday, May 10

Dr. Rebekah Naylor speaking at Commencement ceremony

During the first commencement service on Friday, May 10, Dr. Rebekah Naylor received the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree and provided the commencement address. Dr. Naylor came to Christ when she was five years old, and when she was thirteen, she felt God calling her to become a medical missionary. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Baylor University in 1964 and then earned her Doctor of Medicine from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1968. Following her education, she became the first female medical resident in general surgery at Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas. In 1973, Dr. Naylor was appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board to serve in Bangalore, India, as a general surgeon, evangelist, and church planter. In 1996, she supervised the construction of the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing in Bangalore, where she served as a Professor of Anatomy and Physiology. Dr. Naylor returned to the United States in 2002 due to family reasons, but she continued to serve the community in Bangalore until she retired from the IMB in 2009. Now, Dr. Naylor serves as a global healthcare consultant for Baptist Global Response, mobilizing and training healthcare personnel to meet the needs of people worldwide. She also helped establish Mercy Clinic, a free medical clinic for the uninsured, low-income population of southern Fort Worth.

3:00 p.m. Commencement Service, Friday, May 10

Mr. John Clem receiving his Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at DBU

During the final commencement service, Mr. John Clem received the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. Mr. Clem has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to serving DBU and currently serves as the Director of Development in Advancement. In this role, Mr. Clem has been responsible for managing fundraising for capital campaigns and for building strong relationships with donors who have contributed to the growth of DBU. During his career at DBU, Mr. Clem helped establish the Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award Dinner, now the DBU Leadership Gala, along with Forrest Smith and Dr. Gary Cook. Through the years, he has worked and been a part of organizing this event, which raises scholarship funds for DBU students as they pursue Christ-centered quality higher education. Mr. Clem was also named an Honorary Alumnus of Decatur Baptist College and an Honorary Alumnus of Dallas Baptist University. His legacy is evident in two campus buildings whose construction he helped oversee: the John G. Mahler Student Center, a cornerstone of DBU’s colonial-style architecture, and the Collins Learning Center’s third-floor facilities. Mr. Clem states that in all his years at DBU, his greatest blessing has been serving at a university which has unceasingly and joyfully honored our Heavenly Father.

Dr. Debra Hinson delivering commencement address to graduates

Also, at the 3:00 p.m. commencement service, Dr. Debra Hinson, a professor of biology at DBU, delivered the commencement address to graduates. Dr. Debra Hinson received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics in Biomedical Sciences from Baylor University. She continued research as a Technical Supervisor for Clinical Enzymology and later worked as a Biomedical Scientist at a Research and Development company. In the fall of 2000, she came to Dallas Baptist University as a Professor of Biology in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and currently teaches Genetics, Microbiology, and Immunology. In 2012, Dr. Hinson assisted in bringing the Beta Beta Beta Honor Society (BBB) to DBU and has served as the organization’s sponsor since that time. In addition to being the sponsor at DBU, the National BBB organization appointed Dr. Hinson as the Southcentral District 2 Director in 2019 and the Regional Vice President in 2022. She pioneered the first College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics travel-study course in June 2023 to Yellowstone National Park. Dr. Hinson has the desire to see her students excel beyond the classroom by encouraging them to take advantage of opportunities to research, learn from guest lecturers, and experience hands-on learning opportunities through additional travel-study courses at DBU. Dr. Hinson has been married to her husband, Mark, since 1990, and they have three children, Austin (married to Sarah Barton Hinson), Ava, and Lauren, who are all DBU graduates. They live on a small ranch in Ennis, and she enjoys teaching yoga, acting in local theater, and practicing music in her free time.

About Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University is a comprehensive Christ-centered university dedicated to producing servant leaders through the integration of faith and learning. With an enrollment of over 4,200 students, DBU's main campus is located in the foothills of southwest Dallas. DBU offers 77 undergraduate programs and 39 graduate degree programs in various fields, online college degree programs, and two doctoral programs. Get more information about Dallas Baptist University (www.dbu.edu) by browsing our website, emailing news@dbu.edu, or by calling (214) 333-5172.

Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.