SWU to confer degrees in pair of ceremonies

CENTRAL — Southern Wesleyan University will honor its December graduates in two ceremonies on the Central campus Dec. 12 and 13.

The speaker for the ceremony will be Michael Batchelor, chief executive officer of Baptist Easley Hospital. Batchelor became the CEO of Baptist Easley in March, 2013. Batchelor came to Baptist Easley from Greenville Health System, where he had served as president of the North Greenville Campus since 2005. Prior to that, he was the administrator of the Clinical and Non-Clinical Support Services at Greenville Health. Starting his career as a combat field medic in 1988 with the U.S. Army, Batchelor served several posts in the U.S. and Germany. He holds a master’s degree in health care management from Troy State University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and associate degrees from the University of South Carolina.

The December 2014 graduation exercises of Southern Wesleyan University will be held in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center. Southern Wesleyan expects to confer 262 degrees, according to Janice Hartsoe, the university’s registrar.

Students graduating from the university’s traditional program will participate in the ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12. There will also be a graduation ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 for students graduating from the university’s adult evening programs from the Central, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Greenwood, North Augusta and Spartanburg locations, as well as from the online degree programs.

For details, call the Academic Records Department at (864) 644-5530. Tickets, issued through the university, are required for those attending the Dec. 13 ceremony. For guests without tickets, overflow seating is available, where the ceremony can be viewed via a closed circuit broadcast. Details are available at

Other end-of-semester events at Southern Wesleyan include Baccalaureate Chapel at 10 a.m. Dec. 12 in Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center.

The Baccalaureate speaker is Rev. Shannon Whaples of 12Stone Church.

As a member of the leadership team at 12Stone, Whaples has carried various areas of responsibility. He currently provides directional oversight for 12Stone Church’s newest campus in Bethlehem, Ga. Prior to this role, Whaples served as director of ministries and helped launch the Sugarloaf Campus, containing the John C. Maxwell Leadership Center. He’s also provided supervision to the church’s Next Gen ministries, which encompasses all ages, birth through college. He holds a master’s degree in Christian education and a master of divinity from Wesley Seminary. Whaples has been married for 25 years to his best friend, Sandy. They are the proud parents of two children, one of whom plans to graduate Dec. 12.

The university’s Baccalaureate Chapel includes a “Ceremony of the Servants” and a challenge for graduates of the university to find ways to serve the needs of people throughout the world.

With regional education centers conveniently located across South Carolina, as well as fully online programs for select degrees, Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, visit