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MVNU celebrates 196 GPS graduates

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Graduates of Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s Graduate and Professional Studies programs were encouraged to be influencers without limitations during the Baccalaureate Worship Service on Friday, May 3, and Commencement Convocation, Saturday, May 4, at R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium.

“The day has finally arrived. For some of you, this moment started many years ago, only to be interrupted time and again by the circumstances of life,” said MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “Today, frustration and disappointment give way to excitement and satisfaction. The long nights and delayed vacations are in the rearview mirror.”

For many of the 196 graduates of the GPS programs, life circumstances put their educational dreams on hold. Through determination and commitment, diplomas were earned, but their place in the world has yet to be established.

“Whatever you do in life, wherever you go, whatever you accomplish, whoever you become, make sure you do this one thing — help others. Help others make it by speaking love, strength, self-respect. Stand with others so that they can make it, too,” said Bret Layton, M.Min., West Virginia South District Superintendent Church of the Nazarene. “Stand with others because someone stood with you. That’s your purpose. That’s your calling. That’s the reason you exist — to simply stand with others and help them make it through.”

Layton’s guidance from Friday evening was illustrated during testimony from Col. Richard Stephen Fambro, superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who was presented his Master of Science in Management on Saturday.

Fambro explained to his fellow graduates how he expressed interest in finishing his degree with a co-worker, and how that simple confession would change his life.

“You see, I made the mistake of telling Dustin my desire to complete my master’s degree after he shared with me his MVNU experience,” Fambro said. “Dustin became my educational accountability partner. He stopped by my office almost weekly for at least four months leading up to me contacting MVNU for information. Dustin forced me to stop making excuses and take action.”

While the course of Fambro’s life was changed by the influence of an acquaintance, C. Todd Jones, J.D., commencement speaker, shared with graduates that they will most likely influence strangers.

“When you are at those times of reflection, remember you are one of those people changing others’ lives. It is you, by your very life, that will change the world for the better, helping people you will never know,” said Jones, president and general counsel for the Association of Independent College & Universities in Ohio. “You matter to the future in ways you will never know. In fact, those you change will never know it was you. … That will be your greatest legacy. Congratulations graduates, you are about to change the world for the better.”

To watch the video of commencement, click here.

For more information on the traditional undergraduate commencement exercise, click here.

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 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.