A graduation ceremony is a glorious academic event. Of course, it marks the conclusion of a program of study for the students who are celebrated. But it is important to point out that the usual name for the ceremony is not "Conclusion," "The End" or even something with a bit of artistic flair such as "Finale."
Rather, along with most other academic institutions, we refer to this ceremony as "Commencement." This is very important because, at Geneva, we view education as a means to an end, not as the end in itself. And for us, the end is only reached by students who live lives of service to God and to the world. Thus, in this sense, the commencement ceremony marks the beginning of something, not the end.
Each and every student has a unique calling and life to live. For some undergraduate students, this ceremony marks a transition from bachelor-level study to graduate study. For others, graduation marks the commencement of a career, or a set of careers, in the world. For some, the commencement ceremony is close to another important ceremony that marks the beginning of lives as marriage partners and parents. For others, this ceremony marks the time when they will leave the familiar surroundings of America and begin lives of service in another part of the world. For some, this ceremony marks the completion of their graduate work and the beginning of their professional lives. And on, and on, and on.
Geneva alumni number in the thousands and are living, working and serving Christ throughout the world.
Chris ′09 and Caitlin (Zeiset ′10) Olshefski are teaching and mentoring the children of missionaries at the Hinkson Christian Academy (HCA) in Moscow, Russia. Caitlin writes, "Our hope, and our calling, is to work hard to help the kids discover who they are in Christ and to encourage them to cling to Him no matter what. HCA has proven to be more of a community than a school and provides a stable place for friends, mentors, guidance, fun and worship with peers."
John Neiswinger ′07 earned a bachelor of science in chemistry and received minors in biology and mathematics. John is now a fourth-year Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins Medical School in the Department of Pharmacology. John was initially concerned about his chances of getting into one of the top graduate schools and programs in the world, but he says, "Scholastically, Geneva prepared me very well, not only for the qualifying exams to get into graduate school, but for graduate coursework as well."
Richard Sedlacek ′08 is a systems administrator for The Bank of New York Mellon. In a recent LinkedIn discussion posting, Richard had this recommendation for new graduates, "You do have a degree from a highly regarded Christian institution and you will often be looked at for fresh ideas or innovative thoughts - so use that to your advantage and speak up!"
Amy Solman received her master's degree in counseling from Geneva in 1998. Following 16 years of working as a counselor and rehabilitation specialist at Addiction Recovery Center Manor, Amy now has the opportunity to assist our current students as the director of Geneva′s counseling center.
Eric Schultz graduated from Geneva′s Adult Degree Completion Program in Human Resources in 1995. He was recently honored by the Pittsburgh Business Times as the Chief Financial Officer of the Year in the small nonprofit category for his work at the Center for Community Resources, an organization that provides the community with many human services needs.
Geneva has two commencement ceremonies each May. This is not because we desire to separate or segregate groups of students, but rather because we want to give each graduate the opportunity to be individually recognized and maximize the number of guests that each graduate can invite to participate in this celebration. Therefore, we have one ceremony for traditional undergraduate students and one ceremony for graduates from our adult (mostly off-campus) programs and for graduates from one of Geneva′s seven graduate programs. Click here for additional information regarding commencement activities.
- Dr. Ken Carson '79 Provost