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McPherson College Class of 2017 Sent Out With Hope During Commencement

McPherson College celebrated its 129th Commencement Ceremony on May 21st in Brown Auditorium. The graduates were presented with messages of wisdom, resiliency and hope from professors and peers.

Corey Long, senior class representative, welcomed the family and friends there to support the 126 students about to accept their diplomas. “When I came to college, I was thinking about myself and my future, but I’ve changed. I’m now thinking of us. I think we all are. We’ve laughed together, learned together and moved mountains together. I can’t wait to see what our family here will do in the world.”

All of the speakers encouraged the graduates to recognize the moment they were in and to take that out into the world. Rod Gieselman, professor of business, gave the homily and imparted his own worldly wisdom:

  • No matter what you own, someone always has something nicer, so practice appreciating what you have.
  • What was accomplished yesterday is water under the bridge. All the degrees and accolades earned are in the past. Your value is today.
  • And, there is always room for ice cream.

Dr. Ken Yohn, professor and chair of history and politics, gave the commencement address. “Tying Up Loose Ends” was a collection of thoughts tied together for the seniors. He began by asking the students to celebrate. “Take this one moment and lock it in. Take your hand and make a little fist pump. You did this.”

“Nobody graduates from college by accident,” Yohn told them. “Think about it – everyone here had reasons to quit over the past four years. All of those challenges to hold you back. You made those specific concrete choices, because you have this thing, this inspiration. One action in time, one moment, because you have this aspiration, you are here.”

Yohn touched on how college is a time for students to make mistakes, learn from their failures and take that resiliency out into the world.

Yohn concluded, “It’s about the nature of hope. Hope brought you to this point. Form your life with hope. When presented with anger, respond with compassion. That’s hope. When you fear, respond with love. That is hope. That is what I wish for you.”