The general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada will give the commencement address at Eureka College May 12.
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins will share a message titled “Using Our Words” with approximately 120 graduates at 10:30 a.m. in Rinker Outdoor Amphitheatre.
Watkins will discuss how skills developed through a liberal arts education can be used for building the common good through reasoned and thoughtful, civil conversation in the public arena.
“It will be a call to dream big, to engage important questions with passion and to respect the one holding a different opinion, as these graduates seek to lead and serve in a time of dramatic change,” Watkins said.
Watkins will receive a doctor of humane letters honorary degree from Eureka College at the commencement ceremony.
“The Rev. Dr. Watkins is a strong advocate for Disciples-related colleges and universities,” said Eureka College President J. David Arnold. “She has a great appreciation for the development of leadership among college students enrolled at church-related liberal arts colleges like Eureka.”
Watkins previously spoke at Eureka College on Founders’ Day in 2007.
Watkins leads the 700,000-member Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, overseeing the work of the church’s various structures and serving as general pastor. She served a six-year term that ended last year, and she was re-elected at the 2011 General Assembly to a second six-year term that will end in 2017.
Watkins formerly was senior minister at Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville, Okla. She formerly was director of student services and director of church relations at Phillips University, Enid, Okla., and was a missionary to Congo. She received a doctor of ministry degree from Phillips Theological Seminary.
Eureka College was founded by members of the Christian Church. It is among 14 colleges and universities affiliated with the church.