Pearce first to earn Master of Divinity
May 9, 2015
PLAINVIEW – As Damon Pearce’s name was called during Saturday afternoon’s commencement, he crossed the stage where he was hooded by Dr. Paul Sadler, dean of the School of Religion and Philosophy, congratulated by Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes then handed his diploma as the first person to graduate with a Master of Divinity degree.
A relatively new program, Wayland began offering the M.Div. in 2013. Pearce, who had taken a few of the required courses prior to it officially opening, was able to enroll with some of the 80 required hours already complete.
“I’ve never been first at anything in my life,” Pearce joked. “I was a little ahead of the game, that’s why I’m finishing earlier. It’s not because I’m smarter than anybody else, I can assure you.”
He said completing the degree would not have been possible without the support of his wife, Bonnie, his three daughters and the members of Central Baptist Church in Clovis, N.M., where he serves as the worship pastor.
Although Pearce is the first to officially complete the degree, he was afraid he might not be able to make the graduation ceremony. His oldest daughter, Meghan, is graduating from Eastern New Mexico University this spring and for a while, Pearce was worried the ceremonies would fall on the same day.
“In that case, I would have had to tell Dr. Sadler I’m sorry,” Pearce said. “But we lucked out. I’m going to beat her to the ceremony.”
ENMU’s ceremony will be held next week.
Pearce has two other daughters, Emily, who is a sophomore at ENMU, and Erin, who is a junior in high school. They will all be in attendance to commemorate the occasion.
This is Pearce’s second degree from Wayland. He graduated in 2011 with a Master of Christian Ministry degree. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, and a music degree from Houston Baptist. After spending a few years in the newspaper business, he began full-time church ministry in 1989 and is in his sixth year at Central Baptist Church.
Pearce said he enjoyed his experience at Wayland and was thankful for the external campuses in Clovis and Lubbock, as well as the online offerings, that allowed him to complete his coursework.
“I think it’s a fairly unique experience,” he said. “The quality of the instruction and the personal interaction and relationships you build … I’m happy to be a Wayland alum.”