Rev. Zac Morton, an ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) serving First Presbyterian Church of Morgantown, WV, will be the speaker for the Davis & Elkins College Class of 2024 Baccalaureate Service and Recognition of Graduates.

Zac’s message title, “You Must Make Your Own Map”, is taken from the closing line to a poem A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo, a Native American poet laureate. He will use the image of making a map as a metaphor for creating a new narrative that is always changing as we move through our lives. The theme of God pulling us forward into new space will be explored, as well as how we are challenged to use our imaginations and build on previous narratives and experiences of others as we move towards a hopeful future.

Zac is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College (Class of 2007) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Class of 2011). During his time in seminary, Zac served as a volunteer coordinator on two archaeological excavations in the Levant (modern day Israel/Palestine) and studied Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Languages.

He has previously served as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Manhattan, KS and as Associate Pastor for New Church Development at Roswell Presbyterian Church in Roswell, GA. Zac currently serves as a New Worshipping Community Coach in the 1001 New Worshipping Communities movement of the Presbyterian Church (USA). As part of the ministry of First Presbyterian Church, Zac’s work focuses on LGBTQIA+ inclusion, food insecurity, ecotheology and policy, and reinterpreting scripture and theology for a ‘New Reformation’ context.

In addition to ministry, Zac serves on the boards of the Westminster Foundation of West Virginia and the ACLU of West Virginia. He is also a Master Gardner for WVU Extension and is adjunct faculty in the Davis College of Plant and Soil Sciences where he is co-director of the WVU Campus Food Garden – which harvests and donates fresh produce to numerous food pantries in Monongalia County.

Zac also has a deep interest in wilderness-based contemplative practice and writing – and is currently working on visiting every US National Park. He resides in the woods of Monongalia County where he shares his homestead with two dogs, Rory and Rue, as well as many birds, possums, frogs, deer and a bobcat or two.

“Our Baccalaureate service is a revered tradition of our Commencement weekend,” said D&E President, Chris A. Wood. “We are grateful to have Rev. Zac Morton join us as our speaker, and the hooding ceremony is particularly meaningful to our graduates as they choose one member of our faculty or staff that has served as their mentor to place their academic hood over their head. It is a proud moment for the mentors and an emotional, impactful experience for our graduates.” Graduates will also be presented with commemorative medals.

The Baccalaureate service is part of the 115th Commencement Weekend at Davis & Elkins College, beginning with the Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, May 10 in the Senate Commons of the Myles Center for the Arts with a reception immediately afterward. The Baccalaureate Service will be held in the Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium at 7 p.m. In addition to seating in the auditorium, space will be available in Myles Center for the Arts Senate Commons where guests can view the Baccalaureate service and Commencement ceremony via live-stream video.