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LAKELAND, Fla. – On Sunday, November 22, Southeastern University will host its commencement ceremony at Victory Field on the university’s campus at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony will include participants from both the spring and fall graduating classes. Scott Williams, chief executive officer of Nxt Level Solutions, will be the commencement speaker. 

The spring commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for April, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the university held a virtual ceremony in May, spring graduates were also invited to participate along with fall graduates in a combined ceremony. 

“We are so excited to be able to hold this ceremony in person for both our spring and fall graduates,” said Dr. Bethany Thomas, vice president for student development. “Graduation is a milestone event, and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to create this special memory for our students in a safe way.” 

A total of 1,524 students qualified to march, with 535 participating in the ceremony. These students include 22 doctoral candidates, 157 master’s candidates, 340 bachelor’s candidates, and 16 associate degree candidates. Students who are graduating are from Florida and 39 other states, as well as from eight countries, including Brazil, Korea and Uganda. The ceremony will also include graduates from 30 of Southeastern’s extension site locations. This commencement brings the total number of Southeastern University graduates to 18,777.

The ceremony will also feature the first graduate from Southeastern’s Link program. As one of the few faith-based post-secondary transition programs in the U.S., the Link program at Southeastern is designed to assist students with mild intellectual disabilities in making the transition from high school to adulthood. Jackie Phelps was the first student to enroll in the program when it was founded in 2018. Phelps worked in the library and served at Southeastern’s Community Partnership School, Crystal Lake Elementary. Phelps will be receiving a certificate of achievement with industry credentials in Microsoft Word and Excel. 

“It feels awesome to be the first-ever Link student to graduate. Although the road has not been easy, this journey has completely changed my life. I can’t even imagine where I would be today without this amazing opportunity,” said Phelps.

Commencement speaker Scott Williams is the chief executive officer of the strategy firm Nxt Level Solutions. Williams and his team work with some of the largest and most influential leaders, churches, nonprofits, universities and Fortune 500 companies in the nation. Williams also sits on the board of trustees at Southeastern.

The student commencement speaker is Kary Perez. Perez is graduating with a degree in Film Production. She plans to pursue a career in the film industry as a director and actress.

Dr. Terris Neuman, professor of religion, will be awarded the Outstanding Faculty of the Year award. An alumnus of Southeastern, Neuman served at the university for 37 years before his retirement in June of 2020.

Dennis Webber, a member of the Class of 2020, unexpectedly died of a heart attack in October, after losing his wife to cancer in September. Webber was due to receive his Doctor of Education degree in this ceremony. On November 15, two Southeastern University faculty members presented Webber’s degree posthumously to his children during a service at Release City Church in Chiefland, Fla.

The ceremony is a ticketed event. It will be streamed live on the university’s website: For more information, please contact Priscilla Burr at 863.667.5558.

Priscilla Burr
Director of Communications 
Media Relations & Communications Office

(863) 667-5558

Southeastern University
1000 Longfellow Blvd.
Lakeland, Florida 33801-6034

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