HIGH POINT, N.C., April 23, 2013 – High Point University’s 2013 Baccalaureate service, to be held at 5 p.m. on May 3 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, will be led by Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, a bishop of the United Methodist Church. He will address more than 900 seniors – the largest graduating class in HPU’s history.
Goodpaster was born in Memphis, Tenn. in 1948 and spent his childhood in northern Indiana before moving to Senatobia, Miss. where he graduated from high school. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Millsaps College in 1970, his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology in 1973, and his Doctor of Ministry, also from Candler, in 1982. He has received honorary degrees (Doctor of Divinity) from Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Ala.; Huntington College, Montgomery, Ala.; and Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
Ordained a deacon in 1971 and an Elder in 1974 in the North Mississippi Conference, Goodpaster served as a pastor in Mississippi for the next 27 years. At the time of his election to the episcopacy, he was senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church, Tupelo, Miss. He was a delegate to three General Conferences, four Jurisdictional Conferences, and was elected to the episcopacy at the 2000 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, where he served until 2008 when he was assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference. Goodpaster served as president of the Council of Bishops from May 2010 until April 2012.
Goodpaster has been married to the former Deborah Cox of Quincy, Fla. for 40 years. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.
The Baccalaureate ecumenical service is an occasion of thanksgiving and celebration that precedes commencement. It originated at Oxford University in 1432 as a required part of graduation. The service is led by HPU personnel, and the music is provided by the HPU Singers and the Chapel Choir.