Far from being simply a day of graduation traditions, Commencement at Trinity this past Saturday, May 12, was a time of thankfulness and celebration—both for TIU graduates and of the God who provides. This day showed the collective efforts of students, families, churches, friends and other support systems, and everyone present was led to acknowledge the resources God has provided everyone involved. It is the day graduates anticipate and begin the reality of the next phase of the journeys to which God has called them.
Commencement is, therefore, a time of beginnings.
The same holds true for eight retiring TIU professors, five of whom have been honored with emeritus status: Professors Carol Kennett, Carmen Mendoza, Steve Pointer, Tim Voss, and Cliff Williams. To varying degrees, a few of them will continue teaching the occasional course at TIU.
Several students were also recognized for their hard work over the years:
- Ellen Reza—Outstanding REACH Graduate Award
- Peter Eckert—Outstanding Senior Award
- David Mackett—Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois
- Andrew Nyberg—President’s Leadership Award
- Jennifer Aycock—The President’s Award
- Matthew Benton—The S.M. Andrewson Memorial and Lloyd Perry Memorial Award
- Drew Beretta—The Rebecca E. Bergman Memorial Award
- Travis Booth—Gary R. Collins Counseling Award
- James Caughel—Community Life Award
- Erik Dunkin & Joshua Rasdall—The Otto L. and Thora Larsen Memorial Scholarship Award
- Jon Fowler—The A.J. Thorwall Award
- Cheryl Guth—The deChambrier Children’s Fund Award
- Patrick Hall—The Joy Cummings Evangelistic Award
- Dong Soo Han—The Mephibosheth Award
- Michael Ryan Harding—Pastor-Teacher Award
- Noelle Heber—Prof. C.B. Bjuge Award
- Hae-Won Kim—The Professor A.L. Wedell and Willard J. and Helen M. Eckman Memorial Award
- Jonathan Kim—The Dorothy Robertson Brown and the Philip R. Gustafson Memorial Award
- Brent Kompelen—The Bernhard Rom Award
- Karyn Lawrence—The Kenneth S. Kantzer Memorial Award
- Michael Matheson—The Arley Bragg Pastoral Award
- Michael McKittrick—Genie Lau Memorial Award
- Claire Nicholson—The Women in Ministry Award
- Mary Lee Nikoo—Extraordinary Leadership Award
- Madison Pierce—The Faculty Scholarship Award
- Jacob Rosenberg—The James Fox Memorial Award
- Jeff Schneider—Prof. Ludvig J. Pedersen Award
- Jung Uk Son—Extraordinary Leadership Award
- Jonathan Spencer—Arne B. Hansen Memorial, Walter J. Cahill Memorial, and the John and June Thompson Memorial
- Brandi Williams—The Horace Dawson Award
- Xiubin Zhang—The David and Sylvia Bacon Memorial
Another highlight of the day was the commencement address delivered by Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International. Compassion is one of the world’s largest Christian child development agencies, partnering with more than 60 denominations and thousands of local churches to serve more than one million children in 26 countries.
Dr. Stafford spoke of the challenge of Jesus—to graduates and beyond. As Christians, we are called not simply to be different but better, that is, holy in this upside down world. Integrity is to be the mark of every Christian. Just as God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (Eph. 1:3), so too are we to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Phil. 2:15).
Dr. Stafford then ended with a charge for all to hear: “Graduates, go forth in God’s power and do all that you do to the glory of his name.” May it be that the entire TIU community—past and present—hear this charge afresh, embody it, and so challenge the world’s way of doing business.
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