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Alum Dan Parker challenges Class of 2007 to ‘dream big’

BPC graduates 240 in commencements in Mount Vernon, Savannah

Gillis Gym
An overview of a standing-room only Gillis Gym during the May 12 commencement ceremony. (Photos by Kelley M. Arnold)

By Kelley M. Arnold

Director of News and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s Mount Vernon commencement speaker, Daniel “Dan” F. Parker Sr., a ’67 alumnus and CEO of Parker Executive Search of Atlanta, charged the college’s 2007 graduates to “dream big” and “give back”.


Daniel F. Parker Sr.
Daniel F. Parker Sr., CEO of Parker Executive Search of Atlanta and a ’67 BPC alumnus, encourages the Class of 2007 to “dream big” and “give back”. Parker was later bestowed the college’s top honor, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, for his service and commitment to the college. From left are Dr. Wayne Hamrick, president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, Dr. Don Wallace, BPC professor of communication, and Hildegard Stanley.

“Leave here today, graduate, knowing you made the first commitment of a life filled with success. Leave here dreaming, and leave here and give back,” said Parker.


The college graduated 168 students in the ceremony held Saturday, May 12 in the Gillis Gymnasium on the Mount Vernon campus. Combined with the External Programs Commencement held later in the day at Calvary in Savannah, Brewton-Parker graduated 240 students over the weekend.


Like Parker, many of Brewton-Parker’s Class of 2007 are first-generation college students in their families. Parker, a Long County native, challenged each graduate to replace the words “if only” with “however” in their future vocabulary.

“I want you to think about two very small words or terms today,” said Parker. “’If only’ and ‘however’. ‘If only I had tried’, ‘if only I had dreamed big’, ‘if only I had taken that job’, ‘if only I had not accepted no for an answer’. I didn’t want to reach 40 years old and say ‘if only’. Instead of saying ‘if only’, say ‘however’— ‘however, I dared to dream big’. I challenge you to say, ‘However I left Brewton-Parker May 12, 2007, and persevered against all odds to be successful’, and you will arrive at your definition of success.”

Class of 2007 shades
His future’s so bright… This Class of 2007 grad looked through special ‘2007’ lenses during the May 12 Mount Vernon Commencement.

Parker, a former trustee, was joined by his wife, Janet, and his three children during the ceremony, as he was also awarded the college’s top honor: an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.


“I just encourage you to dream big. I am so proud of you, and now you go out and make Brewton-Parker proud of you. I thank you, Brewton-Parker, for this award,” said an overwhelmed Parker.


The college also bestowed its highest honor to another well-known and loved former faculty member and current part-time external relations consultant to BPC President David R. Smith. Hildegard Stanley, former chair of the Music Division credited with building the college’s music program for over 30 years, was awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.


“Of all the most memorable moments in my life, today is definitely one of the most special. It has been such an honor and a privilege for 41 years to be a part of the Brewton-Parker family. This honor you have given me today is more than I ever dreamed could happen. I am deeply humbled by your gracious recognition and expression of love,” said Stanley. “I love Brewton-Parker and pray God’s continued blessings upon her.”


During the commencement, two students were fortunate to have family members connected with the college to bestow their respective degree to them.

Hildegard Stanley receives doctoral hood
Former music chair, Hildegard Stanley, is “hooded” with the doctorate-level hood during the May 12 commencement when she receive the college’s top honor: an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. From left are Dr. T. Ronald Melton (provost), Dr. David R. Smith (president), Stanley and Dr. Glenn Eernisse (chair of the Division of Music). Stanley currently serves as a consultant to the president for external relations.

Lindsey N. Hamrick was presented a bachelor of business administration degree from her grandfather, Dr. Wayne Hamrick, president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Dr. Hamrick also gave the commencement invocation. Dr. Don Wallace, professor of communication in the Division of Arts & Letters, presented his son, Donald James Wallace Jr., with a bachelor of arts degree.

Speaking to all graduates, President Smith said, “Your testimony of faithfulness to the goal of completing your higher education is an inspiration and hope for us all.”

Joining the 2007 graduates were members of the college’s Half-Century Club – alumni who graduated from BPC 50 years ago or more. The group of seven was set apart by orange BPC sashes on black gowns. Dr. Smith praised the alumni group’s “commitment” to BPC, welcoming them to stand and be recognized.

“We invited these wonderful alumni to join us this morning for two reasons: they have proven for more than five decades their loyalty and sacrificial commitment to Brewton-Parker College, and secondly, by seeing the affection that we have for these alumni, we hope our graduating class of 2007 understands the great affection and strong bonds that will bind them to their alma mater for a lifetime,” said Dr. Smith.


The commencement music, “Praise Him! Praise Him”, was arranged by Dr. Glenn Eernisse, chair of the college’s Division of Music, and performed by the BPC Brass Ensemble. In closing, Dr. Eernisse also led the graduating class and the commencement attendees in a final round of BPC’s Alma Mater.

Half-Century Club
Seven members of the college’s Half-Century Club “walked” with the Class of 2007. The Half-Century Club is for alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago.




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Brewton-Parker College | Located on U.S. 280 at 201 David-Eliza Fountain Circle, P. O. Box 197, Mount Vernon, GA 30445
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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM