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Home > PHC Graduates Receive Diplomas, Launch Into Great Adventure

Graduates Receive Diplomas, Launch Into Great Adventure

May 13th, 2013


CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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Watch Commencement 2013

Be sure to view the Baccalaureate and Commencement galleries below.

Seventy new graduates received diplomas Saturday at Patrick Henry College before a full crowd of parents, family and friends at the Barbara Hodel Center.

“This morning I wish that I could convey to you the treasure I hold in my hands in the form of my Patrick Henry education,” said graduating senior Chelsea Kolz in her Student Remarks. “The best way I know how to tell you is by saying, both for myself and for the other graduates, that our education made it past our heads to our hearts. How could God possibly have been so good as to have written Patrick Henry into all of our stories? The architecture makes instant kings of us, the school’s reputation for academics, debate and moot court make us feel honored to be here. But at its heart is a love for the Lord and the truth revealed about him everywhere in nature – including the scholarly realm. How could God have given us this place, and more importantly, these people?”


Cal Thomas delivers the keynote address


In his introduction of the day’s Commencement Speaker, Dr. Michael Farris recalled, “Cal Thomas and I worked together in the formation and launch of the Christian Right and we often found ourselves on the same side of many critical and, often, contentious issues. I love the way he openly loves Jesus and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has chosen to live a life where he is publically identified with Jesus Christ and because of that he will be my friend forever.”

Syndicated columnist and commencement keynote speaker Cal Thomas reminded graduates, “There’s nothing new under the sun. Everything you think has been thought of by someone else; everything you do has been done by someone else. The arrogance of today is that because we have the Internet and technology we must be smarter, but there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. People with PhDs might be smart according to how the world measures some things, but that doesn’t mean they have wisdom. You have been given a firm academic and spiritual foundation at this school, now it is your responsibility to build on it. As a Christian, you go nowhere by accident; you put on Jesus like clothing each morning and let Him tell you each day what you will do, where you will go.

“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent,” he continued. “’Never give up,’ said Winston Churchill. ‘I never took no as a final answer if I thought God wanted me to do something or be something.’ In conclusion, I point you to my life’s scripture, 1 Samuel 2:30, which says ‘he who honors me, I will honor…’ If you seek to honor God in your personal and professional lives, you will see His blessings in all of your life, work, and accomplishments, and realize God was working in and through you even when you weren’t aware of it.”

Offered graduating senior Tyler Stockton, PHC's Tim LaHaye Leadership Award recipient, in his Charge to Graduates: “I hope that after meeting and knowing you, non-believers think of you when they hear the word ‘Christian. May they so feel your love for them that their criticisms of you have nothing to stand upon. May you always stand firm on what is and is not sin, but never fail to the be one with open arms pouring out your life for those struggling in sin. May mercy and truth meet in your life as they did in the life of Christ.

“Christ himself felt the warmth of the sun and ate and drank the food and drink of the earth,” Stockton concluded. “He lived in community and worked in his community. He ate with tax collectors and drank the water drawn by the woman at the well. He mentored his disciples and honored his mother. He also laid down his life on the cross for our redemption. He was perfectly thankful, perfectly obedient, perfectly merciful, and perfectly true. He was and is the paradox. May you always walk in the paradox. So, to the Class of 2013, my charge is this: live in the paradox.”

In his Chancellor’s Charge, Dr. Michael Farris exhorted the graduates: “My heart is similar to your parents’ hearts. I have a real love for each of you and my hopes for you burn very brightly indeed. You will never fully leave Patrick Henry College and the College will never fully leave you. But it’s absolutely imperative that you live your life being faithful in the little things; you will not be asked to serve on Supreme Court next week; you will not be hired to produce a million dollar movie next month, but your PHC education has prepared you to be faithful in the little things. And you’ve already begun to see bigger things as a result.

“Continue to live in right relationship with your God,” Dr. Farris concluded. “You cannot do great things without walking faithfully with your God and remaining faithful in the little things for the rest of your life. If you have a mind prone to dream big dreams and a heart filled with devotion for the Lord, then you have the necessary elements that will help change this world for Christ and for liberty.”

“Oh God, I thank you for these my brothers and sisters and for all You’ve done in their lives in these years and in the years to come,” said President Graham Walker in his closing Benediction. “Protect them from the snares of the enemy and fill them with the love of Christ.”



The Patrick Henry College Alumni Award was given to Grace Howard; the College’s Classical Liberal Arts Award was given to Andrew Lonan; the History Award went to Andrew Herr; the Literature Award was presented to Mary Sue Daoud; the College’s Journalism Award went to Grace Howard; the Government Award went to Evan Johnson; the Oratory Award was presented to PHC’s two-time ACMA National Moot Court Champion Andrew Ferguson; Tim and Beverly LaHaye Leadership Award recipients were Tyler Stockton and Laura Fennig, and the Trustees Academic Award went to Jordan Sillars.

Please enjoy the photo galleries of Baccalaureate and Commencement 2013.