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Congratulations, Class of 2021!

CONWAY, Ark. (May 15, 2021) – Hendrix College celebrated its graduates’ four years of learning, growth, and persistence today at its 137th Commencement, held for the first time in Young-Wise Memorial Stadium. This year’s outdoor location was chosen to accommodate coronavirus pandemic protocols.

Hendrix conferred 226 undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degrees and 10 Master of Arts degrees in accounting. Read the full list of graduates

Before recognizing the newest class of graduates, the College thanked four retiring faculty members—Dr. Norman Boehm of the Department of Music, and Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt, Dr. John Sanders, and Dr. Lawrence Schmidt, all of the Department of Religion and Philosophy—for more than 120 combined years of service.

“From the abrupt changes during the spring semester of your junior year to the fully remote fall semester of your senior year, you, the members of the Class of 2021, have overcome more challenge and adversity than any other class in recent memory,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold in his remarks to the graduates.

“Your legacy on this campus, and the many ways that you have helped to make Hendrix a stronger institution, will continue to inspire us long after today,” said Arnold. “For that, you have our deepest admiration, appreciation, and respect, and we have the utmost confidence that you will continue to demonstrate those qualities we have come to admire as you leave Hendrix.”

The commencement address was delivered by a trio of faculty: Dr. Gretchen Renshaw James of the Department of Music, Dr. Laura MacDonald ’09 of the Department of Biology and Health Sciences, and Dr. Jennifer Penner of the Department of Psychology.

Renshaw James shared some of what she has learned during the pandemic and passed it to the graduates in “the unsolicited advice part of the commencement speech”: listen to your body, be more than just your career, and seek help when you need it. “Not only have you successfully completed your education at Hendrix, but you also did it under some of the most unusual circumstances. So I hope you’ll go forth today, proud of what you’ve achieved, excited for what’s next. And with enough attention to yourselves so that you can lead long lives as whole people,” she said, referencing the College motto, unto the whole person.

MacDonald pointed out the ways the Class of 2021 changed Hendrix for the better: “…in spending time here, you’ve shaped the way that we teach, altered how we consider our educational structure, and challenged us to aim higher, do better, and bring you a different way of looking at complex concepts,” she said. “You challenged us to bring relevancy to your education, and your creativity, curiosity, and drive inspired us to be better, too. We’ll do our best to live up to those expectations going forward.” 

Penner, a behavioral psychologist, used observations of marine life to illustrate that diversity contributes to the health and resilience of a community. “In your lifetime, there has been no greater need for these things than right now at this very moment. You are what the worlds wants and needs,” she said. “So, take this power of service that you have honed over these four years to build a new community of diversity and cooperation.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit