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Over 40 degrees awarded during Hood Theological Seminary’s 16th Commencement

Varick Auditorium at Livingstone College was filled with laughter, cheers and shouts of ‘hallelujah!’ as Hood Theological Seminary held their 16th commencement ceremony on Saturday.

During the 10:30 a.m. event, three were awarded with honorary degrees, with nearly 40 others receiving their doctor of ministry, master of divinity, or master of theological studies degrees.

Recipients of honorary degrees included Paul V. Fant Sr., Mary J. Matthews, and Charles T. Davidson. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward will receive her honorary degree during the seminary’s opening convocation this fall.

Thirty students received various honors and awards, including scholarships awarded to continuing students.

The graduates were addressed by Paul V. Fant Sr., a native of Charlotte and president of Fant Consulting, LLC. He is a lifelong friend of Dr. Vergel L. Lattimore, the president of Hood Theological Seminary, and was recognized as Humanitarian of the Year in 2016 by the United Way of South Carolina.

“He is a trailblazer in the corporate and business community,” said Dr. Lattimore as he introduced Fant. “Moreover, he is here today because he is a prototype of a servant leader.”

During his address, Fant congratulated the graduates and offered advice for professional and personal success.

“Congratulations for achieving this milestone,” he said. “Your degrees represent a significant investment: financial, time and sacrifice. But you have kept your eyes on the prize.”

Fant also took time to thank and applaud the friends and family of those in attendance, crediting them for contributing to the students’ success.

“I believe what it takes to succeed at school, at work, in life, is to have a vision or a dream of what you want to accomplish. Sometimes it may be the vision or dream of a loved one for you,” said Fant. “Often times, others see the best in you when you don’t.”

Fant continued by informing the students the test of their learning would come in taking their classroom experiences and applying them to real world situations. He challenged the students to develop their people skills, to strengthen their capacity as leaders, and to give back.

“Be mindful of the words you use to express yourself, especially to young folks,” he said. “You might be impacting someone for a lifetime, for good and bad.”

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