May 9, 2009

2009 Spring Commencement: Ceremony Caps Off Largest Class of Graduates

The words on Brittany Compton’s mortarboard sum up most graduates’ feelings at the 2009 spring commencement. Compton, of Edmonton, Ky., earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology.

COLUMBIA, Ky. – Lindsey Wilson College capped off its largest class in college history Saturday morning at its 89th commencement ceremony, held in Biggers Sports Center.

A total of 161 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred. Combined with the 325 degrees conferred at the winter commencement, the Class of 2009 stands at 486 students – the largest in the college’s 109-year history.

To put that number in perspective, a total of 135 degrees were conferred during the 2002-03 school year. That represents a 260 percent increase in graduates over the last six school years.

In his commencement address, Kentucky State Sen. Vernie McGaha told members of the Class of 2009 to follow their interests “with abandon” and “not to squander” their opportunity to make a difference in the world.

“My challenge to you is not to squander the gifts and talents you have developed, but to push your talents and abilities to even greater heights,” said McGaha, a Republican from Russell Springs who has represented Kentucky’s 15th Senate District since 1996. “By pushing yourself to excel, you’ll be joining the ranks of some of the world’s most accomplished people.”

Although the Class of 2009 is graduating during one of the worst economic recessions in the last 60 years, McGaha told the graduates that persistence is key during challenging times.

“Our world is shaped by those who are persistent in following your interests,” he said. “Even the most successful people hit roadblocks sometimes. But what sets those people apart or what makes them successful is a determination to move on despite roadblocks.”

Although the world is experiencing tremendous change, McGaha told the Lindsey Wilson graduates to look for “opportunity.”

“Some mistakenly see the uncertainties ahead as a time of crisis,” he said. “But crisis is always accompanied by a twin called ‘opportunity.’ They can easily be mistaken for each other, but don’t let them fool you – this is a time in which you open the door to possibility, a whole world of opportunity.”

McGaha also urged the graduates to make a difference in their communities by serving others.

“The skills each of you possess will make you increasingly important members of your community, and that will give you new opportunities to give back to your communities,” he said.

McGaha received an honorary doctorate from the college. Also honored at the ceremony with an honorary doctorate for their service to the commonwealth were businessman Charles Bennett of Hardinsburg, Ky., and longtime Lindsey Wilson trustee Pete Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky.

Commencement weekend got under way on Friday afternoon with a pinning ceremony for A.P. White Campus students in the School of Professional Counseling. That was followed by the annual Senior Banquet, hosted by the Lindsey Wilson National Alumni Association. The keynote address was given by Assistant Professor of History Melinda Senters, voted three-time Teacher of the Year by the LWC Student Government Association.

At the baccalaureate service on Friday night in Biggers Sports Center, the Rev. Terry Faris delivered “The Blessing of the Balanced Life.”

Commencement Scenes
A Weekend of Celebrations
Scenes from weekend (click on image to go to page):

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Meet the Class of 2009
Students who attended 89th commencement (click on image to go to page):

iPhone users: Click here to view the pictures.

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