Love story in spotlight


Southern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss presents Karen Amo Mullikin with a diploma cover and a letter recognizing her service and commitment as a student and an alumna at the conclusion of a Sept. 21 chapel featuring her husband, Rev. Heath Mullikin, as the speaker. Due to her grandfather’s death, Karen was unable to attend her graduation in 1998 and her degree – a BA in psychology – was delivered to her home.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

Maggie McMenimen of the Women’s Soccer Team hugs Karen Mullikin after presenting her with a signed ball and jacket as a token of their appreciation. Looking on, from left, is Ethan Cashwell, coordinator for alumni relations and special events; Brii Hydes of the Women’s Soccer Team, Rev. Ken Dill, university chaplain; and Dr. Todd Voss, university president. When she was a student, Karen and a few other girls approached the president and asked that they start a team.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

The Rev. Heath Mullikin presents his wife Karen with a new ring, reaffirming his love and commitment. The Mullikins met as students at Southern Wesleyan University. Heath is pastor of Oakway United Wesleyan Church in Oconee County.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

CENTRAL – The Rev. Heath Mullikin returned to his Alma Mater, Southern Wesleyan University, to give the chapel message earlier this year, but concluded his message in an unforgettable way.

Heath, who is currently pastor at Oakway United Wesleyan Church, met his wife Karen while both were students at the university. An outstanding student who was always on the Dean’s List and active in athletics, Karen worked hard with the goal of graduating a semester early.

But on the week she was supposed to graduate, Karen’s grandfather died. Because of that, she was unable to attend commencement ceremonies and she didn’t get to hear her name called or walk across the stage and receive her diploma. Karen’s diploma was delivered to her home by a UPS truck.

Fast-forward 17 years: As Heath concluded his message Sept. 21 in chapel about oneness in Christ, he called for Karen to come onto the stage, where Dr. Todd Voss, university president, presented her with a diploma cover to give her degree a deserving place of honor. Also in this cover was a letter from Voss, recognizing her dedication and service as a student:

“A lifetime of commitment and dedication. A lifetime of love and faithfulness. To each other, and also the Southern Wesleyan University. Today we celebrate these elements with you as we look to the circumstances that have led to this day, and the impact that you have had at SWU.”

Karen also received a servant’s towel, presented to all graduates at Baccalaureate; a Bible from Southern Wesleyan’s Alumni Association; and a signed ball and jacket from the Women’s Soccer Team, which recognized her role in making such a team a reality when she was a student.

But another special event was re-created – this time in style and with many witnesses.

On the weekend of Karen’s graduation, Heath, realizing that she would likely go home to New York and stay there, proposed to her and gave her a small engagement ring.

On stage at the close of chapel, Heath went down on one knee and presented Karen with a new ring, saying “I want you to know I will love you with all of my heart and I will be there with you until I can be there no more.”

Karen, visibly moved, embraced Heath as their children and the chapel audience looked on.

Moved by the spirit of unity displayed in the auditorium and reflecting on his wife’s battle with Huntington’s Disease, a house fire and their daughters’ recent serious jet-ski accident, Heath said: “Being one is not always easy, and our life is not easy right now. We have issues, we have struggles all the time – nothing different than what you go through.”

Then students, faculty, staff and others in the auditorium joined the Mullikins at the front of the auditorium for prayer as the chapel concluded.

“I think it was a great surprise to Karen and was so pleasing to Heath to see his school reach out to his family in this way,” said the Rev. Ken Dill, university chaplain. “Heath and his wife Karen are both graduates SWU and are great supporters of the university in their ministry.”

Southern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss presents Karen Amo Mullikin with a diploma cover and a letter recognizing her service and commitment as a student and an alumna at the conclusion of a Sept. 21 chapel featuring her husband, Rev. Heath Mullikin, as the speaker. Due to her grandfather’s death, Karen was unable to attend her graduation in 1998 and her degree – a BA in psychology – was delivered to her home.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_swulovestory01.jpgSouthern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss presents Karen Amo Mullikin with a diploma cover and a letter recognizing her service and commitment as a student and an alumna at the conclusion of a Sept. 21 chapel featuring her husband, Rev. Heath Mullikin, as the speaker. Due to her grandfather’s death, Karen was unable to attend her graduation in 1998 and her degree – a BA in psychology – was delivered to her home. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

Maggie McMenimen of the Women’s Soccer Team hugs Karen Mullikin after presenting her with a signed ball and jacket as a token of their appreciation. Looking on, from left, is Ethan Cashwell, coordinator for alumni relations and special events; Brii Hydes of the Women’s Soccer Team, Rev. Ken Dill, university chaplain; and Dr. Todd Voss, university president. When she was a student, Karen and a few other girls approached the president and asked that they start a team.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_swulovestory02.jpgMaggie McMenimen of the Women’s Soccer Team hugs Karen Mullikin after presenting her with a signed ball and jacket as a token of their appreciation. Looking on, from left, is Ethan Cashwell, coordinator for alumni relations and special events; Brii Hydes of the Women’s Soccer Team, Rev. Ken Dill, university chaplain; and Dr. Todd Voss, university president. When she was a student, Karen and a few other girls approached the president and asked that they start a team. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

The Rev. Heath Mullikin presents his wife Karen with a new ring, reaffirming his love and commitment. The Mullikins met as students at Southern Wesleyan University. Heath is pastor of Oakway United Wesleyan Church in Oconee County.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_swulovestory03.jpgThe Rev. Heath Mullikin presents his wife Karen with a new ring, reaffirming his love and commitment. The Mullikins met as students at Southern Wesleyan University. Heath is pastor of Oakway United Wesleyan Church in Oconee County. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University
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