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Mississippi College

America's Minister of Encouragement Speaks at Mississippi College 2009 Graduation

January 21, 2009

A well-traveled preacher and comedian dubbed America's "Minister of Encouragement," Dennis Swanberg is booked as Mississippi College's Spring 2009 commencement speaker.

The Texas-born pastor-turned comedian will address two MC graduations - at 10 a.m. May 9 at the A.E. Wood Coliseum and later that day at 2 p.m. in the same facility on the Clinton campus. MC leaders announced Swanberg's visit Wednesday.

His hilarious impressions of deputy sheriff Barney Fife of TV's "Andy Griffith Show," and presidents from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton and movie legends like John Wayne are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. He's been a regular guest on "Focus on the Family" with Dr. James Dobson and served as host of "The Dennis Swanberg Show" on the TBN Cable Channel.

Swanberg spoke at the fall 2008 convocation in front of hundreds of MC freshmen and their parents at First Baptist Church in Clinton. As usual, he tickled their funny bones.

MC leaders like Eric Pratt are delighted "The Swan" will deliver two of the university's undergraduate commencement addresses in May. "Swan is one of the most insightful and memorable speakers I know," said Pratt, vice president for Christian Development. "He is able to make his audience laugh, think and remember that we serve a creative and caring God. What a great opportunity for our graduates and their families and friends."

His good-natured humor, story-telling skills and work as a motivational speaker put Swanberg in big demand nationwide. His college appearances have taken him to his alma mater, Baylor University, Louisiana College, Union University in Tennessee, Louisiana State University and Ouachita University in Arkansas. His recent speaking engagements have taken him to churches stretching from First Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. to the Shadow Mountain Church in California.

Swanberg and wife, Lauree, have strong family ties to MC. He is a roving good-will ambassador for the largest private university in the Magnolia State.

His oldest son, Chad Swanberg, is a May 2005 MC graduate. His youngest son, Dusty Swanberg, is a December 2008 MC graduate. Dusty Swanberg is now working with Swanberg Christian Ministries in West Monroe, La. and plans to attend graduate school in Louisiana.

Dennis Swanberg "loves MC. One thing we do whenever he speaks− he puts out brochures about Mississippi College. He loves to promote the school," said Chad Swanberg, director of ministry operations at Swanberg Christian Ministries. "We have recruiting parties at our house in Monroe."

Dennis Swanberg is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas with a master's in divinity and doctorate of ministry. He served as pastor at various churches, including First Baptist Church in West Monroe, La.
Photo: Dennis Swanberg