On May 5, the evening before Commencement, BJU will hold its baccalaureate service honoring the graduates of 2016.

Although scheduling has changed over the years, the baccalaureate service continues to be a bookend to the opening ceremony at the beginning of each school year.

Commencement is the ultimate conclusion of the school year, but the baccalaureate service is a time for everyone to come together and reflect over the year, said Kyle Wilcox, special assistant to the president.

The baccalaureate service is a tradition of the University just as it is for many other colleges. Many colleges hold baccalaureate services, in which a speaker will give a sermon, but BJU’s service differs slightly.

By being more focused on corporate worship of God than a typical college’s baccalaureate, BJU seeks to impress upon students and grads the importance looking back at God’s grace and making him the central focus of their lives outside of campus.

The baccalaureate service does differ from regular chapel services students attend and church sermons they’ve heard.

“It serves to really set the capstone of what, for us, is central — God’s Word,” Wilcox said.

“We’re ending the year with a service that highlights the preaching and teaching. It’s a worship service, so we gather to give God reverence and praise for all He’s done in the past four years for the graduating class.”

At the request of President Pettit, Dr. Dan Anderson, president of Appalachian Bible College in southeastern West Virginia, will be speaking.

His charge to the graduates will be taken from a text in Ezekiel and titled, “Do You Have the Ohhh Factor?” according to Wilcox.

Anderson has served at Appalachian Bible College since 1978 and has been president since 1983.

During his career as second president of Appalachian Bible College, Anderson has successfully developed the college campus with renovations and additions, has grown enrollment, has greatly influenced the direction of the college and  has authored a book titled Biblical Slave Leadership.

The service starts at 7 p.m. and will be held in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium.

Attendance is required for all students, and the service is open to the public.