Monday, April 26, 2010
112th Goshen College Commencement ceremony welcome
Delivered by Dr. James E. Brenneman, President of Goshen College Sunday, April 25, 2010 at the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center
Welcome to the 112th Commencement ceremony of Goshen College. Congratulations class of 2010!
There are few other places on earth where I would rather be than here, today, to witness once again before our very eyes, the transformation from student to graduate. For some of you, this day was a foregone conclusion; for others it’s a dream come true. For all of you, today represents the miracle of a 100,000 graces: the grace of your parents and grandparents, teachers and coaches, mentors and friends, binders and books, the God of all grace, and this little place with a giant calling, our alma mater, Goshen College.
My heart swells with delight when I look out on this sea of faces and behold a mighty tsunami, a tidal wave, an unstoppable force for good in a world needing healing and hope. You join a throng of Goshen College graduates on every inhabitable place on earth, in all walks of life, who bring honor to God and to each other, little by little, peace by peace.
On the eve of Arbor Day, thank you Class of 2010 for your wonderful class gift of a great White Oak tree, a symbol of strength and endurance. It will be placed alongside some 1,052 other trees on campus, to be monitored and recorded by some future Goshen College student following in the footsteps of graduating senior, Joe Friesen. Thank you, Joe.
Planting this tree provides a fitting bookend to the tree planted by me at the inauguration of my first year of being president just four years ago when many of you began your tenure at GC as well. These trees beckon us in the words of Scripture to become the “Oaks of Justice and Righteousness” throughout all generations. May each of us live into such a high and holy calling.
With deepest gratitude, we also say thanks to faculty members, Board members, administrators and staff, all of you past and present, here with us today. We are reminded of those who have departed from us since our last commencement gathering or are elsewhere in service and retirement. We especially hold in our thoughts and prayers today, former President J. Lawrence Burkholder, president when I was here and some of the rest of you were students, and a dear friend of ours and mentor to many of us. I just visited Dr. Burkholder this morning. He faces a hard struggle back from several strokes that he had early last week. Our prayers are with him and his family.
So now, let the ceremony begin. May today be a day of celebrating lives well lived. May today be a day for all of us, especially those of you who are about to graduate, a day marking in our memories achievements well done and a commencement into lives yet to be. God bless you all and congratulations.