Glen Guyton encourages Class of 2024 to embrace the present

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Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, delivered the commencement address at GC’s 126th Commencement Ceremony. (Photo by of Tyson Miller)

During Goshen College’s 126th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, April 28, 2024, Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, delivered an inspiring message, “I Succeeded,” (read the full text of the speech here) to the 182 graduates urging them to focus on, appreciate and celebrate the present moment. He emphasized the importance of celebrating current success and cautioned against the relentless pursuit of perfection.

Graduates join together in the singing of the GC Alma Mater. (Photo by Seth Smith Kauffman)

“You are surrounded today by friends, family, spouses, loved ones, haters, teachers and those whose names you will not remember in 20 years,” said Guyton. “But today, they are all here, and we are all here because you are a success.”

Graduates listen to Guyton’s commencement address. (Photo by Tyson Miller)

As the first person of color to serve as executive director of the Mennonite Church USA denomination which the college belongs, Guyton brought nearly 30 years of leadership experience to this occasion. His dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion within religious organizations has been evident throughout his career.

Drawing from his own experiences, Guyton shared a valuable secret with the graduates: the importance of looking back to appreciate growth and determination. He encouraged them to reject external comparisons and instead focus on their own journey of growth and self-discovery.

A view of the crowd that attended GC’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony. (Photo by Kiara Blackshire)

Guyton’s message resonated with the audience as he emphasized the significance of embracing one’s unique talents and celebrating personal achievements. He reminded the graduates that success is not measured by external standards but by the progress made and the values upheld along the way.

As the ceremony concluded with his guitar in hand, Guyton left the graduating class with a powerful message.

“Sing your own song, embarrass yourself on the way to greatness, yes you can have dreams, you can have goals, you can have a career plan, and set important professional and life milestones,” said Guyton. “But do it for you.”

After the ceremony was over, the faculty lined the main corridor of the Recreation-Fitness Center and applauded the departing seniors as they walked through an “applause tunnel.” This is a tradition which also takes place at the beginning of each academic year to welcome students back to campus.

Goshen College Class of 2024 by the numbers:

  • Total number of graduates: 182
    • Bachelor of Arts: 145
    • Bachelor of Science: 1
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 20
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice: 2
    • Master of Arts (Environmental Education): 2
    • Master of Business Administration: 5
    • Master of Science in Nursing: 7
  • Number of graduates from Indiana: 123
  • Number of states represented in this year’s graduating class: 20
  • Number of countries represented in this year’s graduating class: 7

View the full 2024 Commencement Ceremony video:

View the full 2024 Baccalaureate Celebration video: