Written by Karen Bobst
Photos by Ryan Bluebaugh
Cameras clicked, leaders prayed, alumni spoke, parents grinned and cried, tassels changed…and they were off! It is graduation season, and many of us participated in early May in the Commencement and Baccalaureate services for New Hope Christian College. We were there to join in the festivities and to give the students best wishes. Now we wait with anticipation to see what God will do in their lives.
Who are these graduates? A total of fifteen students celebrated the completion of their college career, with one student, Douglas Buhr from Hawaii, earning his Master’s degree. These single and married students came from six different states, various denominations and from both the Pacific and Central Regions of Open Bible. Their degrees were in either Ministry Leadership or Creative Arts, with Concentrations in Pastoral Studies, Youth Ministry, Music, Counseling, Drama, or Interdisciplinary Studies. Five students were awarded honors by the Academic Dean, and Jeromy Green was awarded the Delta Epsilon Chi Award by the faculty for his outstanding Christian character, leadership ability, and amazing 4.0 GPA. We are all proud of our students and their accomplishments. They rightfully earned their diplomas!
As we watched students lead worship, laughed when we heard their likes and dreams in a creative video presentation, and listened to them convey their stories, we learned a little about the heart of each one who is moving on. Many students gave accolades to professors and leaders for their mentoring, teaching and love for them, so we know that relationships and memories will be treasured as much as “book learning.” To encourage these relationships in the future, we heard that our alumni program will help to keep us connected with fellow alumni and the memories that we cherish.
Alumnus Dan LeLaCheur brought the Baccalaureate message and alumnus Wayne Herron the Commencement address. Dan’s word from the Scriptures and Wayne’s testimony of God’s direction throughout his life reminded students that today is the first day, not only of the rest of their lives, but of their call from God. Students were encouraged to find out about what they are passionate, and to not just seek a “job” but a “profession” as they keep God as the center. Some students are leaving Eugene to head into vocational ministry positions, while others are waiting on God to see where He leads them. Herron also reminded us that God may send some to the “marketplace” to do ministry. We should continue to pray for these students and the decisions that they must make to get them on this right path.
Graduation day is often full of opposites: cheers and contemplation, memories and goals, good-byes and hellos. We embrace these emotions and congratulate the graduates and their families on getting to this day. We know that these students are all better prepared for what the future will hold for them because of their time spent at New Hope Christian College.