Eastern Nazarene College will hold its 88th commencement exercises on the front lawn at 2:30 p.m. Saturday May 15, when approximately 240 graduates will receive associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Guest speaker at this year’s commencement ceremonies will be Tom Nees, founder and director of Leading to Serve, Inc. Nees served as a pastor at churches in Washington, California, Ohio and Washington, DC, before organizing the faith-based neighborhood agency, Community of Hope, in the nation’s capital in 1975.
“The Community of Hope is recognized locally and nationally as a model faith-based community organization that offers a wide range of services, including housing for homeless families, health care, job training, education and legal aid,” ENC President Corlis McGee said. “Dr. Nees has a lifetime of leadership experience in the religious and non-profit communities, and we are honored to have him as our commencement speaker.”
Through the Community of Hope, Nees organized the Institute for Racial Reconciliation in 1990 as an educational forum to engage students, local residents and community leaders in racial understanding and cooperation. In 1995, he became the director of Compassionate Ministries in the USA and Canada for the Church of the Nazarene, and has since helped start more than 200 faith-based organizations in every major urban area in those countries. From 2003 to 2008, he served as director of the USA/Canada missions for the Church of the Nazarene, providing leadership development resources for 5,000 clergy. He founded Leading to Serve, Inc. in 2007 to advance leadership consulting and coaching in nonprofit and faith-based communities.
Dr. Nees holds a BA from Northwest Nazarene University, a M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary. He is the author of four books, including The Changing Face of the Church and Compassion Evangelism.