PLAINVIEW, Texas — Wayland Baptist University recently announced that Christian James Vaughn was the first student to graduate with its Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree.

According to a press release from WBU, Vaughn received a dual degree that incorporates a Bachelor of Christian Ministry and a Master of Divinity on Saturday, November 10.

The university said Vaughn completed the five-year accelerated program in four and a half years while also serving as the youth and university pastor at First Baptist Church of Plainview. He also played football for the Pioneers. Vaughn is married and has a small child.

“Right now, I plan to stay on at FBC Plainview as the youth and university pastor, but once I earn my doctorate, I’m planning on becoming a professor. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do while finding ways to maintain church involvement and pastorates,” said Vaughn in the press release.

WBU said Vaughn finished the five-year accelerated program early because the university accepted dual-credit courses he took while in high school in Houston. He then took part in the university’s first Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree program when it became available in 2019. He was a sophomore at the time.

Noting it has been an honor and a unique opportunity to be the first accelerated degree graduate, Vaughn said, “It was all God’s timing. I am truly blessed.”

“Christian has done very well throughout the program,” said Dr. Stephen Stookey, Dean of Wayland’s School of Christian Ministries in the press release. “He’s a high-achieving student. I’m looking forward to seeing what God is going to do with Christian in the future. I hope he goes on to do doctoral work.”

Stookey described the accelerated program as “a win-win for the school and the student.”

“We were the first among Texas Baptist schools to do this,” he explained in the press release. “The accelerated bachelor’s degree allows the student to proceed from one degree to the next seamlessly and allows them to be efficient with their hours and efficient with their money. It doesn’t compromise the degree at all because it is the full 72-hour Master of Divinity degree. It just allows us to not duplicate courses along the way.”