Spiritual Life Events

August 18th, 2019

Past Events

May 10th, 2024

Baccalaureate Service

Baccalaureate Service

Baccalaureate is a long-standing tradition in American colleges and universities. Over the years, it has evolved and changed, especially since the global pandemic. Our hope is that Baccalaureate at Southwestern is a major culminating community experience for all graduating seniors as they embrace new challenges and opportunities to make a difference for good in the world with their lives. Honoring Southwestern University’s history in the Wesleyan Christian faith tradition of openness and inclusivity, the Baccalaureate is framed by the University’s Core Purpose and Core Values. The Service is open to ALL!


Lois Perkins Chapel

Date & Time

May 10 - 6:30pm
Annual Events

Baccalaureate Worship Service

Every May

Southwestern’s Baccalaureate Service celebrates graduating seniors and their families. Held every May in the beautiful Lois Perkins Chapel, the service includes readings from the Bible, prayers, and music from the Southwestern Chorale. A faculty member or distinguished guest delivers a sermon or address. Graduating seniors often also participate in the service by reading scripture or giving a reflection.

An opportunity for graduating seniors to reflect on their time at Southwestern and to give thanks for the support of their families and friends, the Baccalaureate Service is also an occasion for the University community to come together and celebrate the achievements of our graduates.

Candlelight Service

Every December

A beloved tradition that began in 1915, Southwestern’s Candlelight Service is an evening celebration of the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The service features readings from the Bible, prayers, and the singing of traditional Christmas carols. The service also includes a processional of singers from the Southwestern Chorale, who lead the congregation in singing Christmas hymns. 

In addition to the readings and music, the Candlelight Service features a special form of participation by the congregation. At the conclusion of the service, as the choir performs the evening’s final hymns, the lights in the chapel are darkened and candles held by each attendee are lit one by one, the flame passing from neighbor to neighbor, until the whole space is aglow with the warm, flickering lights. The entire congregation then processes, candle in hand, out of the chapel to gather in a large circle outside while singing a few final Christmas carols in the nighttime air.