The Robert Haskins School of Leadership (RHSL) recognized 20 members of the Class of 2016 during a June 25 commencement ceremony at Oklahoma City, Exchange Avenue. Surrounded by many family members, friends and leaders of RHSL, this graduating class is the last under the guidance of Golden Gate Seminary (now Gateway Seminary).

RHSL also modified its name to become the Robert Haskins School of Christian Ministry, as was approved during the May 17 board meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO).

Anthony Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, gave a special acknowledgement to Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, sharing how much BGCO appreciates the seminary partnering with the Robert Haskins School.

“We as Oklahoma Baptists want to thank you and the seminary for your investment in us,” Jordan said to Iorg. “It has been a wonderful partnership. We love and appreciate you and pray for God’s richest blessings upon you and Gateway Seminary.”

The commencement address was given by the school’s namesake, Robert Haskins, former BGCO senior associate executive director, who shared how special the school is to him and its mission to train pastors and church leaders.

“I love pastors very much,” said Haskins who mentioned he first became a pastor when he was 20. “I love those of you who are leaders in the local church. I have come to the conviction that the greatest need of our churches is strong leaders.”

Haskins gave five simple instructions to the graduates which included: be humble, have integrity, love sincerely, be real and learn how to laugh. He said if they follow these instructions, “you’ll make a great servant of God.”

Alan Quigley, BGCO mobilization team leader, offered a Gospel emphasis during the charge to the class.

“Be a witness of the Gospel and the transformation that God has brought to your life,” said Quigley. “Encourage the believers; build one another up in the faith; rejoice in the Lord always. If you will do these things, the light of Christ will shine in you.”

Eduardo Jose Ramos gave the high honor student speech. He spoke about his upbringing in Venezuela and his experience of graduate school in Canada where he faced some circumstances to not receive his diploma.

“I did not receive my diploma, but I received something better. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” said Ramos. “This is a special time for us who are graduating, but it also is a great responsibility. It is also something we need to carry on. It is time that we help others.”

In Jordan’s closing remarks, he also shared a special “Thank you” to Marta Elisa Caceres, director of the Haskins School.

“Thank you for all you have done to make this a successful graduation,” Jordan said to Caceres. “Thank you for leading these students to prepare for the Kingdom. We are very proud of the work you have done.”