Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee, senior servant for the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in Portland, will present the baccalaureate address Saturday, May 25, at 5 p.m. in Ted Wilson Gymnasium, located in the Health, Human Performance and Athletics Building at Linfield College.
Hennessee has served in a variety of leadership capacities locally, nationally and globally in public administration, private business, non-profit boards and commissions. He has a passion for teaching and working alongside others in equity, economic development and education. He has served on the Board of Trustees at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, for nine years and is a trustee at the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California.
Hennessee is a former chair of the Portland Development Commission (recently re-named “Prosper Portland) and served as the settlement agreement monitor for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help the former Thomason Auto Group repair its human resources and employee relations policies. He also worked as global operations director for a division of Nike, Inc. for nearly nine years. In addition to pastoring Vancouver Avenue he is the convener of the Inter-Faith Peace & Action Collaborative aimed at building bridges between law enforcement and black and brown communities.
He has traveled extensively throughout the world and earned a bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College and a master’s of divinity at Golden Gate Theological Seminary. He is currently a doctoral candidate at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland.
Baccalaureate has existed for centuries in colleges and universities as a time of worship for graduating members of the senior class. College officials, faculty and graduating seniors wear academic dress for the occasion. Linfield’s baccalaureate service is ordered according to the traditions within Protestant Christianity and strives to touch on the universal theme of common humanity that can be found in all of the world’s great religions.
For more information, call the Dean of Students office, 503-883-2278.