Movement’s Institutions of Higher Education Gear Up for Commencement Celebrations

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Colleges & Universities

By Carl Stagner

Thank God for the rich history of Christian higher education in the Church of God! While alumni of the four respective universities of the Movement are often found in separate rooms for separate receptions at conventions and conferences, there’s unquestionably an underlying camaraderie in the Church of God that exists across the boundaries of school spirit and loyalties to one particular alma mater. After all, when good things happen at one of our Church of God schools, it’s a win for all of us. With commencement season upon us, it’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates from Anderson University, Mid-America Christian University, Warner Pacific University, and Warner University.

The word commencement is commonly associated with a beginning or the start of something new. Dictionary definitions relegate the idea of “a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on graduating students” to second place; upon closer consideration, however, the interrelatedness of the alternate meanings is crystal clear. Degrees for which students toiled long and hard, attending classes online or in person from Portland to Anderson, and from Oklahoma City to Lake Wales, find themselves at one ending—certainly—but also at the beginning of something brand new.

Anderson University’s commencement, 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, May 4 in the Kardatzke Wellness Center. Aspects of baccalaureate and commencement will take place as a single, combined celebration. Kristian Andersen will serve as commencement speaker and Brian Martin as baccalaureate speaker. Honorary degrees will be presented to Deanna K. Edwards ’65 and Andersen. Edwards earned a bachelor of arts in elementary education from Anderson College followed by a master of education from Ball State University. The wife of Dr. James L. Edwards, she spent twenty-five years as the first lady of Anderson University, where she was an active ambassador to the campus and community, serving on several boards and committees.

Mid-America Chistian University’s commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 in the morning. The expansive Oklahoma City Convention Center will serve as the site of the celebration in order to accommodate the needs of this rapidly growing community of students and staff. An annual tradition sets MACU’s graduation festivities apart, as they plan to host an on-campus “Grad Night Party” again this year. According to a statement on the MACU website, “This years attendees can expect lawn games, food trucks, door prizes, campus tours, and much more.” Worship and prayer will close the party as a fitting precursor to the next day’s formal ceremonies.

Saturday, May 11, also means commencement for Warner Pacific University. The 10:00 morning event will take place in the auditorium of Sunset Church in Portland, Oregon. Prospective graduates and their families are offered the pleasant greeting online, “We are so excited to celebrate your accomplishments with you,” a glimpse of the kind of hospitality, encouragement, and inspiration to come on the day such important accomplishments are officially celebrated.

Last alphabetically, but first on the calendar, is commencement at Warner University on Saturday, April 27. True to Florida fashion, the service will be held outdoors on the campus of Warner University, in the courtyard between the Pontious Learning Resource Center and the Rigel Student Center. Not only is the sun forecast to shine on the ceremony, but also, and more importantly, the Son is expected to shine down his love and grace on all who witness the end of one thing and the beginning of another.

So will it be for each of our beloved institutions of higher education.

Learn more about the Church of God movement, including its universities, at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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