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Traditional and GPS Commencement Ceremonies Honor MVNU Class of 2018

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University honored this year’s 522 graduates on Saturday, May 5. The traditional commencement ceremony was held in the morning where 245 degrees were conferred. The Graduate and Professional Studies ceremony was held in the afternoon when 277 students received their degrees.

Rev. Kevin Jack, lead pastor of Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene in Beavercreek, Ohio, spoke at the Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 4. His address highlighted the importance of character and the ability to continuously learn, even outside of the classroom.

“Here’s what I want to press upon you: If your formal time as a student hasn’t filled you with a sense that you are a student and able to learn at all times and all places not just in matters of intellect but in matters of wisdom and character and integrity, then it has failed you regardless of the grades you received. But if you go out into the world, equipped with an education, but armed with courage, and grace, and mercy, and love, you will live out the fullest extent of your calling,” said Jack.

Shirley V. Hoogstra, J.D., president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, spoke at the traditional commencement ceremony on Saturday morning. Hoogstra advised new graduates on how to “make good personal and professional moves” for the rest of their lives.

“First, it starts by knowing your purpose in life … It is to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves,” said Hoogstra.

She went on to explain the “five main ways that God guides us” is called “the GPS of decision-making,” or the five S’s: Scripture, spirit, sense, signs, and saints.

Scripture — “Being rooted in scripture allows you to be motivated and instructed in living a wise life … and allows us to have a deep and rich prayer life that advances God’s purpose and therefore our purpose.”

Spirit — “Big and small promptings are like the directional voice of the GPS. I have seen God reroute me in ways that are comforting.”

Sense — “Having the ability to perceive and judge what is happening around you and the ability to interpret for others, helps to guide situations and people.”

Signs — “The GPS of circumstantial signs or the working of providence … ‘the timely preparation for future eventualities.’”

Saints — Hoogstra explained the importance of the family of God and the community of faith. “When we are in a friendship, we are ‘participating in something divine.’”

The 2018 Service Above Self Awards were presented to Michaela Hershberger and Ashton Dupler. 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 Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2017-18 academic year was presented to Dr. Doug VanNest, Professor of Pastoral Practics.

Dr. Jim Dalton, Professor of Accounting and Business Programs Coordinator for the MVNU School of Graduate and Professional Studies, presented the commencement address to students during the afternoon non-traditional ceremony. Dalton gave graduates a calling to carry out the university’s motto by expressing gratitude to those who have served them through their journey, and to actively seek out an individual way to serve.

“Graduates, each of you here today have someone who has helped you when you were struggling during your race here at MVNU,” said Dalton. “Whether you are graduating today in business, education, health care, ministry, public safety, or in social work, I am charging each of you to find your way to serve.”

Click here to watch a recording of either commencement ceremony. Click here to view photos.

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 32 states and 19 countries/U.S. territories.