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OCU Holds 67th Commencement

Ohio Christian University (OCU) conducted its 67th commencement on Saturday, April 29, awarding 790 diplomas in two services to accommodate growing enrollment numbers. OCU’s Georgia campus awarded an additional 108 diplomas earlier in the month at their Commencement. Of the graduates, 122 were residential students and 668 were students in the College of Adult & Graduate Studies (AGS). The average graduate’s age was 39 years old with the youngest graduates at 17 years of age, receiving Associates of Arts degrees through the Trailblazer Academy and one student who, at 77 years of age, was the oldest graduate receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Departing President Mark Smith shared words of wisdom with the graduates and expressed heartfelt thanks to the students, faculty, staff, and administration for the encouragement he and his family have received since announcing he would be the next President of Columbia International University in South Carolina. Smith said, “You have loved us so well… it is with humility and gratitude I say thank you.”

Dr. Doug Carter, who was President of Circleville Bible College (now OCU) in the 1980s, delivered the commencement address. In his address, titled “Running the Christian Race,” he advised those in attendance not to live in the comfort zone and encouraged them to find their purpose. While touching on purpose he said, “I believe every person here today is called to be a leader in the Kingdom of God. No one is excluded. Everyone has the potential to be a difference maker.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Dr. Carter was recognized for his leadership at OCU, for his time as a missionary to Native American tribes in Arizona, and for the work that he’s done for the last 20 years training pastors around the world, which encompasses 125 countries. Dr. Smith, with the support of OCU trustees and faculty, awarded Carter with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity.

Dr. Mark Smith was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity. Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost of OCU, made the surprise announcement, stating the decision was made by the faculty with the trustees standing in agreement. During the presentation, Kelly touted some of the accomplishments of the Smith administration, including increased enrollment, new construction and purchased facilities, millions of dollars raised for expansion, and countless future leaders who were inspired and encouraged by Smith’s example.

Ohio Christian University is one of the fastest growing universities in Ohio. Over the past ten years enrollment has grown 400 to over 5,000. With a heritage dating back to 1948, Ohio Christian University offers a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families, and the world. Students enrolled in OCU’s traditional undergraduate program attend classes at its main campus in Circleville, Ohio. OCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies offers 13 campus locations in Ohio, two locations in Georgia, and online degree programs. For more information about Ohio Christian University, visit