Arkadelphia News

Arkadelphia universities to graduate 860 May 13-14

This post was updated 5/9/23 to include Henderson’s inclement weather plans.

From HSU and OBU News

More than 860 college students will graduate from Arkadelphia universities next week, May 13-14.

Henderson State University’s spring commencement ceremonies will take place on the evening of Friday, May 12, with approximately 460 undergraduate and graduate students receiving their degrees.

Ouachita Baptist University’s commencement will follow on the morning of Saturday, May 13, with more than 400 graduates, including the university’s first Master of Science in Education degrees in curriculum & instruction.

Henderson State University

Spring commencement will be held outdoors at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. Gates will open for the general public at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Chuck Welch, president of the Arkansas State University System, will greet the graduates and guests. Dr. Charles Ambrose, Henderson State chancellor, will present the chancellor’s charge.

Jordan Jones, a senior marketing major from Glenwood, will deliver the student response. Jones, a former Miss HSU, is president of the Student Government Association and serves on the Henderson State Board of Visitors.

Check-in for graduation will begin at 4:30 p.m. inside the Wells Center gymnasium. Early arrival is recommended. Graduates should follow signs and proceed immediately to the check-in station.

A photographer will be available for photographs at the gymnasium from 4:30-6 p.m.

General parking is available at the Formby Athletic Center lot east of the Wells Center, and on the main campus with shuttle service available at 12th and Wilson streets. Shuttles will be available from 5:30-9 p.m., providing free transportation between 12th and Wilson streets, the Duke Wells Center, and Carpenter-Haygood Stadium.

Handicap-accessible parking is available in the “Red Lot,” directly behind the stadium’s main entrance/press box. Handicap placards must be visibly displayed when entering this area.

Ouachita Baptist University

The university’s 136th spring commencement will be at 9:30 a.m. on the front lawn of Cone-Bottoms Hall. 

The ceremony will honor more than 400 graduates, including awarding the university’s first Master of Science in Education degrees in curriculum & instruction. Others recognized include those who have earned Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, as well as Master of Science degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates for Dietetic Internship. Graduates recognized will include students who completed their degree requirements in August 2022, December 2022 and May 2023.

Commencement exercises will be led by Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president, who will also serve as commencement speaker. Dr. Jim Files, associate professor of accounting and chair of the university committee, will serve as commencement marshal. Honorary marshals include Janice Ford, professor emerita of library services; Dr. Ray Franklin, professor emeritus of Christian missions; Dr. Timothy E. Hayes, professor emeritus of chemistry; and Dr. Michael E. Reynolds, professor emeritus of kinesiology.

Senior Class President Kallen Smith, a biomedical sciences major from Jonesboro, Ark., will deliver the invocation. Ouachita’s vision and mission will be read by Lori Motl, director of admissions counseling, and Dr. Rickey Rogers, vice president for student development.

Scripture will be read by Mason Campbell, a Christian studies/biblical studies & theology major from Hinton, W.V.; Ashton Hurst, a psychology and Christian studies/biblical studies & theology double major from Van Buren, Ark.; Alex Moore, a philosophy & English double major from Gulfport, Miss.; Angela Staats, a Christian studies/Christian missions major from Oklahoma City, Okla.; Hannah Tullos, a Christian studies/biblical studies & theology major from Paris, Texas; and Wade Wilson, a Christian studies/biblical studies & theology major from Springdale, Ark. All are students in the Pruet School of Christian Studies.

Singing of the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and of Ouachita’s alma mater will be led by Dr. Joshua Brown, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, and accompanied by the Wind Ensemble. Dr. Deborah Root, professor and chair of the Rogers Department of Communications and director of assessment and institutional research, will share distinctive data about the Class of 2023.

Following Sells’ remarks, candidates for graduation will be presented by Dr. Justin Hardin, vice president for academic affairs. Sells will confer degrees upon graduates, recognize those with military commissions and present an honorary degree to the family of Clark Yarbrough, a senior from Rowlett, Texas, who died unexpectedly in the fall.

Dr. Jeremy Greer, dean of the Pruet School, will lead a responsive reading, and a prayer of dedication will be offered by Scott Street, chair of Ouachita’s Board of Trustees and CEO of Pediatrics Plus.

Inclement weather plans

In case of rain, Ouachita’s ceremony will be moved to Cliff Harris Stadium. The event will be streamed live online at Find out more about Commencement 2023 at

Henderson’s commencement ceremonies will be moved inside the Duke Wells Center. Two ceremonies will be held starting at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors will open for the general public at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Students graduating with degrees in Health, Education, and Social Sustainability will participate in the 4:30 p.m. ceremony. They may begin checking in at 2 p.m. in the Wells Auxiliary Gym. Those receiving degrees in Applied Professional Sciences and Technology, Arts and Humanities, and Business, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship will graduate at the 7 p.m. ceremony, with check-in beginning at 4:45 p.m. For the latest information about commencement, go to A digital version of the commencement program can be downloaded at