Traditional and GPS Commencement Ceremonies Honor MVNU Class of 2017
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University honored this year's 574 graduates on Saturday, April 29, 2017. The Traditional Commencement Ceremony was held in the morning and 251 degrees were conferred to the students. The Graduate and Professional Studies Ceremony was held in the afternoon when 323 students received their degrees.
Rev. Douglas Wyatt, District Superintendent of the Eastern Kentucky District of the Church of the Nazarene, spoke at the Baccalaureate service on Friday, April 28, 2017. He reminded each graduate that they all have a unique story weaved together by God.
"We can see God's handiwork in all of it … God continues to weave together your life and this day is one of those days. Together, graduates remember where they came from in order to embrace where they are now," said Wyatt.
Dr. Kevin W. Mannoia, Professor of Ministry and Chaplain at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., who has 30 years of ministry leadership experience, spoke at the Traditional Commencement Ceremony on Saturday morning. Mannoia advised new graduates to "walk around in a way that is worthy." Pulling scripture from Ephesians 4:1, Mannoia encouraged students to "lead a life that is worthy of which you have been called."
"You carry with you the changed nature of who you are and the changed thinking that has occurred to you here and you go to make a difference in a world that is in desperate need of what you have to offer them," said Mannoia.
"Competence without godliness breeds arrogance. Godliness without competence breeds irrelevance. So I'm asking you in all your walking around, in all of what you do, do it in a way that is both godly and competent because that will then be worthy of the call to which you have been called ... may I suggest to you that the value of your call is not derived from what you produce; the value of your call is derived from the one who called you to it."
The 2017 Service Above Self Awards were presented to Amanda Sparks and Edward Solano. These awards are given annually to the male and female graduates who exemplify the school's motto of "To Seek to Learn is to Seek to Serve."
The W. Lloyd Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Charles R. McCall, D.M., for his outstanding work. In the early days of Mount Vernon Nazarene College, McCall was appointed by President Stephen Nease and Dean Lloyd Taylor as the first religion professor at MVNC. He spent 36 years teaching at MVNU and became professor Emeritus of Religion.
The Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2016-17 academic year was presented to LeeAnn H. Couts, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology.
Dr. Michael VanZant currently serves as the pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Fairmont, W.Va., and serves as the Graduate and Professional Studies Coordinator of Religion Programs for MVNU. During the MVNU GPS Ceremony, VanZant gave graduates a definition of purpose which is measured by faithfulness to God rather than bottom lines.
"While physical success can be measured by bottom lines, accomplishments, or large houses, human fulfillment is found in the faithful use of the talents and abilities that God has instilled in you. As you hone and continue to enhance these abilities through education and application, so also hone and enhance your sense of purpose," said VanZant.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 28 states and 17 countries/U.S. territories.