Central Methodist to graduate nearly 400 students

The 2018-19 academic year is wrapping up and hundreds of Central Methodist University students are excited for that big moment they get to walk across the graduation stage – diploma in hand. 

Approximately 400 students from CMU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) are on track to graduate, according to CMU Provost Rita Gulstad. This includes graduate, undergraduate, and two-year degree recipients. 

Celebratory ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 11, with Baccalaureate beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Linn Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC), followed by Commencement at 2 p.m. in Puckett Field House. Both locations are on the CMU-Fayette campus.

The speaker for Commencement is Lew W. “Jay” Jacobs IV, the former president and managing director of PIMCO, a global investment management firm based in Newport Beach, Calif. 

His career at the firm spanned nearly 20 years, during which he served in numerous senior management roles. He currently serves in a consulting capacity as advisor to the CEO, while also serving on the board of directors for Citigroup, Inc. in New York City.

A fourth-generation banker, Jacobs has been the president of Commercial Trust Company in Fayette – his family-owned community bank – since his father’s passing in 1998. 

Jacobs serves on the Board of Trustees at Washington University in St. Louis and was the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where he additionally serves as a distinguished global fellow within the business school. He was the recipient of Georgetown’s Wall Street Alliance Award for distinguished achievement in the field of global finance in 2016. In 2017, he joined the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington, DC-based think tank.

His ties to Central Methodist are extensive. Numerous members of his family, dating back 100 years, have graduated from Central and he attended his junior year at then-Central Methodist College. Four generations of his family have served on Central’s Board of Trustees, including Jacobs, who served as a trustee for eight years, having first been elected to Central’s board in 1995. He was 24 years old upon his election to the board and remains the youngest full trustee to have ever served the institution.

Jacobs received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1992, and earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Georgetown University in 1998.

An avid snow skier, golfer and fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, he currently resides in Laguna Niguel, Calif. with his wife and their five sons.

His wife, Kelly, and he have generously supported Central philanthropically through the years and remain deeply committed to the University’s special mission as an institution of higher learning across Missouri and the nation.

The guest speaker for Baccalaureate is Dr. David Kerr. He and his wife, Dr. Marsha (Kahler) Kerr (’68), reside in St. Louis, Mo. They have three children. Johndavid (’88) and Rebecca both work in public education while their youngest, Matthew, is a mechanical engineer. Dr. Kerr is a retired Elder in the UMC. 

Prior to retirement, Kerr served for 17 years at Salem in Ladue UMC in St. Louis. Beforehand, he was the Director of Preaching Ministries with the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn. During this 10-year period, he preached and taught in all 50 states and in a number of different countries.

He has worked with youth in a variety of ways, and served on the Board of Directors of YMCA. He was also involved with the Boy Scouts of America as an assistant scout master and officiated high school basketball.

Kerr was appointed by the Missouri Governor to serve on the State Commission, overseeing the licensing of Nursing Home Administrators. He also served as a director for two church-related retirement communities.

He received his undergraduate degree in business administration from CMU, a Master of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, and completed his doctoral studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Kerr has been a Trustee with CMU for many years and embraces the University’s mission.

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