104th Commencement @ Spartanburg Methodist College will inspire all to claim the life to which the Spirit calls

Spartanburg Methodist College will hold their 104th commencement exercises at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9th in Bridges Arena to celebrate an estimated 200 students who have successfully met the academic requirements for graduation. The class of 2015 boasts over 20 honor graduate students who have maintained a 3.5 or better grade point average and will be recognized as a Summa Cum Laude, Manga Cum Laude or Cum Laude graduate during commencement.

Courtney Tutterow, recipient of the Yandle Student Leader Award, will be the 2015 Student Speaker for commencement. Nominated by her peers and described as “an all-around outstanding person…Courtney has played soccer both years at SMC… and has also kept a 4.0 GPA. She is a Pioneer Peer, has great leadership skills and qualities and always has a positive attitude.”   Tutterow, daughter of Mike and Michelle Tutterow of Boiling Springs, SC was named a two-time all-region soccer player, an Academic All American and has served as a tutor and student mentor.  “Courtney personifies what it means to be a Pioneer,” stated SMC President Colleen Perry Keith, Ph.D.

Paul Roger Leonard, Jr. will be the 2015 Commencement speaker. Leonard s a man moved by a generous and loving spirit. His most recent work, When the Spirit Moves, is a collection of stories, poems, prayers and reflections that invite readers to look back on their lives, and witness all the ways the Spirit has prodded, poked, touched and moved them. Leonard wants his readers to laugh and cry with him, to get angry with things as they are, to pray for peace, to hope for a brighter tomorrow, to give thanks for every day and to reach out, touch, listen and love all who cross their path.  His goal for the book was for it to be more about you and your life, than it is about him and his, and together he wants us to claim the life to which the Spirit calls.

Throughout the book, Leonard shared the ups and downs and twists and turns of his adult life – spanning four decades, one wife, four children, eight grandchildren, lots of dogs, one cat and multiple jobs from minister to home builder and real estate developer. Leonard, who has worked for nonprofits and both privately and publically held for-profit companies, has served as interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, college trustee and board member.  His travels have taken him to all seven continents and over 60 countries and given him a global perspective on our world and its glories and sorrows—and render him a fitting speaker for the college’s 2015 commencement.

Author of WHERE IS CHURCH?-One Man’s Quest and MUSIC OF 1000 HAMMERS, Inside Habitat for Humanity, Leonard graduated Cum Laude with Honors in history from Davidson College, continued his studies, earning a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Chicago and earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Emory University.   He first served at Trinity Presbyterian Church after which he founded a non-traditional church that focused on community action and service and eventually left the traditional ministry to work in city housing.  Leonard was recruited by the John Crosland Company, becoming the company’s president in 1984. After the company was acquired by Centex Real Estate Corporation, Leonard was appointed as its Executive Vice-President, responsible for the company’s southeast region. After retiring from Centex, Leonard was elected to the Board of Habitat for Humanity International; he served as Chairman of the Board from December, 2001 to December, 2003 and was employed as the Interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity.  Today he is a member of the US Council for Habitat for Humanity International.