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April 2010

A Message from Ken Carson, Provost

Ken Carson

Commencement is my favorite Geneva College activity. As provost, I have a leadership role in academic affairs, student development and athletics, so I have a lot of activities from which to choose. Commencement wins easily.

Why is it my favorite? Because Commencement is the culmination of everything that we try to accomplish at Geneva. It is a celebration of many things. First and foremost, we celebrate academic achievement. Only about one third of the American population has a bachelor’s degree (or higher). Graduating from college is a significant milestone that is not easily accomplished. We have a challenging curriculum—including a rigorous set of core requirements—that tests students’ abilities and motivation.

In addition, for many students, Commencement celebrates four years of engagement in campus life—everything from being in Bible studies to playing intramurals, from going on mystery bus trips to spring break mission trips. For nearly a fifth of the student body, Commencement marks the completion of their college athletic career, and time when their athletic skills and abilities were tested far more than they had imagined. The traditional student starts college at age 18 and leaves at age 22. A significant amount of “growing up” occurs during those years, and Commencement is an important marker.

Geneva actually has two commencement ceremonies each year, which only serves to double the fun. We have a separate event to celebrate the graduates of our adult (non-traditional) undergraduates and our graduate students. This ceremony is equally joyous and fun. In some ways, it is even more fun, because these are students who are accomplishing something that is increasingly more unusual in our day and time.

I like to have fun at Commencement. Unlike at larger institutions, the name of each graduate is publicly announced. Hoopla from family and friends is not frowned on; it is actually encouraged. And, we have recently made changes that allow graduating students to sit with their friends rather than in impersonal alphabetic order. What a joyous (and noisy) time!

In addition, I usually do one or two special celebrations as well. Consider these two examples.

  • One year, we had a graduate who used both a wheelchair and a service dog during her four years. Josie’s accomplishments were extraordinary, especially as we are not a particularly wheelchair-friendly campus given our hilly terrain and old buildings. As a way to highlight this particularly significant graduate, prior to calling the name of any of the graduates, I awarded her service dog—Vito—a collar with Geneva colors and inscribed “Geneva College 2007.”

  • Also in 2007, we celebrated the birthday of one of our graduates, Thandi Dlodlo. Why was this important? Here are my remarks: “Among the graduates of Geneva College in 1983, two were a married couple from South Africa (then called Rhodesia). Their names were Mghele and Flora. However, Flora was unable to participate in the ceremony. Graduation day in 1983 was on Saturday, May 14, and on Thursday, May 12, Flora gave birth to a little girl who they named Thandeko (or Thandi for short). Mr. Dlodlo received two diplomas that day, one for himself, and one for his wife. We think it is past time that Flora had the opportunity to wear cap and gown, to walk and to have her picture taken with the president —and we think that this should happen before her baby gets to do all of that. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome and congratulate graduate Flora Sukouhle Dlodlo, Class of 1983.”

I hope you can tell how much fun it is to do these kinds of things in addition to calling the names of each undergraduate student and hearing the boisterous support that they get from friends and family. It is such a privilege to be involved in this academic duty, and I look forward to the day when you and your child are among the celebrants.

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From a recent grad 

“These four years have changed the way I view myself, my neighborhood, the world and my Christianity.”

Megan Summers, sociology grad

Click here to read Megan's profile.


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Commencement 20102010
Commencement

Undergraduate Commencement will take place Monday, May 10.

 

The Genevan now on saleThe Genevan now
on sale

Purchase your copy of Geneva’s 2009-10 yearbook for only $21.

 

New Song releases HallelNew Song releases Hallel

The album features Psalms set to favorite hymn tunes, folk melodies and new compositions.


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Geneva College
3200 College Ave.
Beaver Falls, PA 15010
www.geneva.edu
 

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