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Trinity confers degrees at 121st annual commencement ceremonies

Trinity CommunicationsMay 13, 2018

Trinity International University marked its spring commencement for about 400 students at ceremonies conducted this month in Florida, Illinois and California.

In Deerfield, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), Trinity Graduate School, and Trinity College conferred degrees during ceremonies May 11-12 in Van Dixhorn Arena. Students who completed their work at Trinity’s South Chicago campus in Dolton took part in the Deerfield ceremony.

“We are truly grateful for each one of these graduates and for all of those who have supported them during their time at Trinity,” president David S. Dockery said. “We pray God’s blessings on their future endeavors.”

Within this 121st annual commencement, the graduates hold citizenship in 22 nations. They come from as far away as China, Singapore and Rwanda.

In Santa Ana, California, Trinity Law School will confer 48 degrees May 19. This is the first year that Trinity Law graduates have received degrees through the new Master of Legal Studies program. Eight MLS degrees were conferred during spring commencement.

Trinity’s Florida campuses in Miramar and Kendall graduated 50 students May 5 in a ceremony at the Miramar Cultural Center Artspark. Dean Graham Cole of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School delivered the Florida commencement address.

Ruth Rosa, who earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, earned designation as Valedictorian of the Florida class. The distinction is based academic achievement and a vote of the faculty. Rosa and her husband David are co-planting a church in Hollywood, Florida. She also works as a group therapist at the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center in Hollywood.

William Kynes delivered the Deerfield commencement address for TEDS and Trinity Graduate School from I Timothy 3. Kynes serves on the Trinity Board of Regents and as senior pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, Virginia.

“The people of God in local churches can be the pillars and the foundation of truth,” Kynes told the graduates. “The truth of the Gospel is to be admired and displayed through the church.”

W.R. (Smokie) Norful, Jr. completed a Master of Arts in Leadership this spring. He is senior pastor at Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Chicago. Norful is a two-time Grammy Award winner, selling more than 4 million CDs in his singing career. He also once served on Trinity’s board of regents.

Among the TEDS graduates this spring is Mary Willson of Memphis, Tennessee, who earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theological Studies. Willson serves as director of women’s initiatives at The Gospel Coalition, and soon will lead the women’s ministry at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis.

“The training in the Scriptures I’ve received at Trinity has deepened my delight in the person and work of Christ,” Willson said.

Feyissa Wosenu Muleta hails from a small village in Ethiopia, where he became the first in his family to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. He and his wife Mihiret are raising two young sons and serving Campus Crusade for Christ in Ethiopia. Muleta, who earned a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology, also has provided leadership in a host of ministry roles in his native country.

Felix Theonugraha delivered the Deerfield commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony May 12. He is vice president for Student Life and University Services.

“Make it your magnificent obsession to follow Christ,” Theonugraha told the graduates. “Be not merely hearers of the word, but doers as well. As the Scripture says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Among those receiving bachelor’s degrees is Margaret (Maggie) Kirst of Galena, Illinois. Kirst is an elementary education major and Trinity’s 2017 Lincoln Laureate, one of the highest honors an Illinois college student can receive. Kirst has been a Kantzer scholar and a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an honors club for education majors.

“Trinity offered me a community that focused on Christ and building relationships with people that love the Lord,” Kirst said. “It also opened up some doors for me to serve the community and to also pour into other people, which was also important to me.”

Francesco De Felice graduates with a baccalaureate degree in business marketing and entrepreneurship. He holds dual citizenship in Italy and Rwanda. De Felice served as a student advancement associate on campus, and played on the TIU men’s soccer team.

“My dream is to work for the World Bank one day, and travel the world,” De Felice said. “I think traveling is such as vital part of everyone’s lives and if you haven’t traveled enough, you should. It grows you and matures you.”

Three members of the TEDS faculty, with a combined 84 years of service, retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year: Donald A. Carson, research professor of New Testament; Miriam S. Parent, associate professor of Counseling; and Greg R. Scharf, professor of homiletics.

The Deerfield ceremonies sreamed live on the Internet, and archived recordings of each service are available for viewing at stream.tiu.edu in the “on demand” section.

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