CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
Kay Coles James, Commencement Speaker
Be sure to view the Baccalaureate and Commencement galleries below.
Fifty-three seniors received diplomas on Saturday, walking across the stage to begin a phase of their lives they’ve been preparing for during their time at Patrick Henry College.
“It all started in this room four years ago,” said graduating senior Will Thetford, recalling memories of freshmen orientation during his Student Remarks. “We came here, said goodbye to our families, and embarked on an adventure. Soon, I’m going to pack-up and leave for the last time as a PHC student. There is a lot that I will leave but I also realize there is so much more I take with me… I trust that graduation is not the end of the work God has for us to do on this earth.”
In his introduction of the day’s Commencement Speaker, PHC Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris began by saying, “I’ve had the privilege many times at this College to introduce good friends, but today is the first time I’m going to introduce a precious friend. Kay Coles James is one of my very best friends in the whole world, and I just love her to death.”
Kay Coles James, President and Founder of the Gloucester Institute, a leadership training center, began by telling listeners that commencement speeches should be short and memorable.
“I can promise short, and pray for memorable,” she said, prompting laughter from the audience.
“This is a commencement, a beginning,” she said. “[Your Professors] have prepared you for a journey of learning. It’s not over; it’s the beginning. I know that what they hope they’ve done for you is give you the tools necessary to complete the journey. You are commencing a life-long journey of learning.
“The investment made in you was to prepare you for the kingdom work that He has in front of you,” she said, urging graduates to realize that whatever career path they select, their mission will be the same. “It’s all for the King and for the Kingdom. I think if you maintain that perspective with the decisions that you have in front of you, with the different paths you’ve been given, you’ll always know that it’s not about you; it’s about the King and His Kingdom.”
She concluded her speech by urging the class of 2014 to do something “disruptive.”
“There has been an investment of time in your lives; an investment of money, as people have paid for your education; a lot of prayer has gone into your lives, but to what end?” she asked her audience. “This investment was not made for you to go forth and do something mediocre. With all that investment, why not go out and do something disruptive? Go out and be disruptive.”
In his Charge to the Graduates, graduating senior Kyle West urged his fellow classmates to make it their goal to shape the culture.
“Culture, put very simply is that which molds human souls,” he said. “Whether in the office, the classroom, our families, or the halls of power, I hope that in how we act, how we carry ourselves, the things we love, and the things we teach, we each take advantage of the countless opportunities we will have to shape the culture we find ourselves in. It is this constant culture shaping, the kind of culture shaping that makes our friends and neighbors look to God, that really counts.”
In his President’s Charge to end the ceremony, Dr. Graham Walker pointed the class of 2014 to the verse the senior class picked to represent them on Commencement programs, 1 Corinthians 15:58.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
“Persevere,” said Walker. “Abound in the work of the Lord, but not because it’s noble, although it probably is. Not so much because you’re likely to succeed if you try hard, though that may be true too, under the right circumstances… but the ‘therefore’ [in 1 Corinthians 15:58] refers to Christ’s resurrection, and your impending one.” said Walker. “You will be resurrected – that is the reason to abound in the work of the Lord. Nothing will be lost. Everything will be resurrected and gained. Keep your mind focused on the triumph of Jesus’ resurrection. Keep your hope fixed on your upcoming resurrection.”
The Patrick Henry College Alumni Association Award was given to Alyssa Mundy; the College’s Classical Liberal Arts Award was given to Caleb Sasser; the History Award was presented to Kyle West; the Literature Award went to Sarah Watterson; the Journalism award was given to Alicia Constant; the College’s Government award went to Kayla Griesemer; the Oratory Award was presented to Blake Meadows; the Tim and Beverly LaHaye Leadership Award recipients were Kayla Griesemer and Iain Armstrong; and the Trustees Academic Excellence Award went to Andrew McCartney.
Please enjoy the photo galleries of Baccalaureate and Commencement 2014.