Thursday, May 13, 2010

Congressman Roy Blunt to Speak at SBU Commencement

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Southwest Baptist University spring commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. on the Merrill Burnidge Memorial Forum on the main campus in Bolivar.  Approximately 400 undergraduate and graduate students will cross the stage and receive their diplomas.

The commencement address will be given by guest speaker Roy Blunt.  Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt came to the United States House of Representatives in 1997 with a background as a public servant, university president and administrator. He became the Majority Whip earlier in his career than any Member of Congress in the last eight decades and also served as Majority Leader. Blunt is now the second-highest Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  The people of Southwest Missouri have overwhelmingly sent Blunt to Washington to represent them seven times, most recently reelecting him to Congress with 68 percent of the vote.

Before coming to Congress, Blunt was elected in 1984 as Missouri’s first Republican Secretary of State in more than 50 years, a position he held for two terms, and served four years as the president of  Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

Blunt was named Missouri’s Republican of the Year in 2001.  As Whip, the second highest Republican in the House, he led a team of deputies and assistants that columnist Robert Novak described as “the most efficient party whip operation in congressional history.”  In one of Novak’s last regular columns with the Washington Post he wrote about Blunt’s efforts to ensure that the votes of our military men and women serving overseas are counted. 

Other legislation Blunt championed in recent Congresses includes the Combat Meth Act, the Charitable Giving expansion and legislation to enhance transparency in federal spending by establishing a searchable database of all federal grants and contracts.  Blunt has become a recognized leader on energy issues and led the fight for more American-made energy in 2008.  He also played a key role in helping negotiate an update of our nation’s foreign intelligence surveillance laws.  Blunt is a member of the Smithsonian Council for American Art. 

The Congressman is married to Abigail Blunt. Blunt has four children: Matt Blunt, Missouri’s 54th Governor; Amy Blunt, an attorney in Kansas City, Mo.; Andy Blunt, an attorney in Jefferson City; and Charlie (age 5). Blunt has six grandchildren: Davis Mosby, Ben Blunt, Branch Blunt, Eva Mosby, Allyson Blunt, and Brooks Blunt.

In addition to recognizing the graduates, the 2010 Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award and the 2010 Life Beautiful Awards will be presented during the ceremony. The Distinguished Teacher Award is chosen by the current and three previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member for “outstanding teaching ability and personal guidance.”

Rosalee Mills Appleby, a career missionary to Brazil, established the Life Beautiful Award in 1937. This award is given annually to an outstanding man and woman in the Southwest Baptist University spring graduating class.  These individuals have demonstrated, by their scholarship and character, that they are living a “life beautiful.”  The faculty selects the recipients whose identities remain confidential until the announcement at spring commencement. 

For more information about spring commencement, please contact Paula Livingston at 417-328-1807.


Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. Since 1878, the faculty and staff have created a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. The University has been named one of America’s Best Christian Colleges® for 13 consecutive years, one of America’s 100 Best College Buys® for 14 consecutive years, and it has been named among institutions with America’s Best College Scholarships ® for the past three years by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc. For more information, visit

SBU’s Office of Marketing & Communications is available to news media 24/7 at 417-399-7918.