Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Episcopal Leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church, will deliver the baccalaureate sermon to the Claflin University Class of 2014 on Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m.
The 2014 Baccalaureate Service will be held in Tullis Arena at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center on the University campus. The public is invited to attend.
Born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Palmer is a “child of the church,” as his father is a retired United Methodist pastor. He received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School.
Ordained a deacon and probationary member in the Easter Pennsylvania Conference in 1977, Palmer was ordained an elder in full connection in the East Ohio Conference in 1981. His pastoral career includes pastorates in North Carolina and Ohio. He also served as district superintendent of the Youngstown District of the East Ohio Conference.
In 2000, Palmer was elected to episcopacy of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. He was assigned to the Iowa Area, where he served until assuming responsibilities in the Illinois Area in 2008. Palmer served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008 and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010. Palmer and his wife, Cynthia, have two grown children.
The tradition of the Baccalaureate Service derives from the medieval European custom of presenting the candidates for the degree of Bachelor (bacca) with laurels (lauri) of sermonic oration.
The University will celebrate its 144th Commencement Convocation at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Seventh-day Adventist Worship and Convention Center, 514 Neeses Highway, Orangeburg. A complete list of commencement-related activities and events is available online at www.claflin.edu.