Two days before the beginning of a new academic year, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary brought an official close to the 2019-20 semesters with the latest graduation ceremony in school history. Commencement exercises moved to Saturday, August 22, 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak in May.

Nearly every seat in the socially distanced gymnasium was filled as 67 graduates were honored (54 in the college; 13 in the seminary). The morning began with Awards Chapel, followed by the Commencement Address by Dr. Jeff Newman, who is beginning a new role with Baptist Mid-Missions. Miss Jennifer Farrell performed a solo flute selection, followed by the presentation of the diplomas for both the college and seminary.

Two special recognitions concluded the day’s events with the conferring of an honorary doctorate on Patrick Odle and a yearbook dedication in honor of Dalton Cottrell (who lost his life in a drowning accident), and his wife, Cheyenne, who graduated with honors on Saturday.

Odle Honored

The honorary doctorate at Faith recognizes distinct achievement and evidence of God’s work in one’s life and ministry. This year, the award was given to Patrick Odle, who recently became the ninth president of Baptist Mid-Missions.

Odle has served the Lord with over 26 years of pastoral ministry in Iowa and Ohio. Patrick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Faith Baptist Bible College in 1992 and his Master of Arts from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in 1998. He served as the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life at Faith from 2008 to 2011.

Patrick recently served as senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Elyria, Ohio, from 2011 to 2020. Prior to his ministry in Elyria, he served as interim pastor in two Iowa churches, was the senior pastor for nine years at Holmes Baptist Church in Clarion, Iowa, and served as associate pastor at Ankeny Baptist Church in Ankeny, Iowa.  On June 1, 2020, Patrick became the president of Baptist Mid-Missions in Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

The president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, Dr. Jim Tillotson, bestowed the Honorary Doctor of Divinity on Odle, stating the decision by the board of directors and the faculty to honor Patrick was unanimous.

“I’m proud to call him my friend,” said Dr. Jim Tillotson. “He is a frequent speaker here at Faith, I’ve always enjoyed his preaching, I love his heart for ministry, and he is certainly a deserving individual. We are honored to present him with an honorary doctorate.”

Patrick is married to his high school sweetheart, Ruth. God has blessed them with four children and one grandchild. In his free time, Patrick enjoys rooting for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, spending time outdoors, gardening, and deer hunting.

“I am truly humbled by this honor,” said Odle. “Like the apostle Paul, I marvel at the fact that God would save me, let alone call me, and let alone use me in ministry. Not only am I humbled by this honor, but I’m also so thankful for it. I’m thankful for it because of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary and all that it means to me. Faith was used by God to prepare me and shape me to be a servant of the Lord.”

View a copy of the Commencement Livestream link here.