Asbury Honors the Class of 2018 at Commencement – Asbury University
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Asbury Honors the Class of 2018 at Commencement

May 7, 2018

Graduates smiling for the camera

WILMORE, Ky. — Squeals of joy, tearful goodbyes and proud parents. Saturday, May 5 was both celebratory and emotional as the Vindicated Class of 2018 graduated from Asbury University.

Commencement 2018 festivities took place in the Luce Center with graduates, family members, friends and Asbury faculty and staff in attendance. The Vindicated Class of 2018 joins an alumni network of more than 22,000 graduates who are working around the globe to impact the world for Christ.

Prior to Saturday’s Commencement ceremony was Friday night’s Baccalaureate service during which Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mark Whitworth ’83 spoke to graduates and their families after Music Department seniors performed a prelude.

Mark Whitworth and family“My advice would be to surrender to Christ and trust the training that you’ve been blessed with here,” Whitworth said.

During Saturday’s Commencement services, traditional undergraduate, degree completion and graduate students were awarded their degrees.

“You are our guests of honor today,” Asbury University President Dr. Sandra C. Gray said during the ceremonies. “We would not be here if it were not for you. While this is a long-established tradition of the academy, many others have gone before you and there will be others to come behind you, but I want you to know that no class and no student will replace you. You were uniquely created and appointed for the life of service that God intends for you.”

Jim Daly, Focus on the Family president, author and host of the daily broadcast, spoke to the Vindicated Class during the Commencement ceremony. Focus on the Family reaches more than 6.3-million listeners each week and helps people from around the world build stronger marriages and families.

During the traditional undergraduate Commencement service, Daly was awarded an honorary Doctor of Christian Ministries.

“Take up the battle. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be a different leader. Be a different person. Know where you’re going and fundamentally know who you are in Christ,” Daly said.

Daly spoke about his childhood growing up in foster homes and how he came to Christ. He also spoke directly to the men of the Vindicated Class, charging them with the task of setting an example in a culture permeated with sexual harassment and violence against women.

“For us as Christians, we have to be different from the world. We, as Christian men, have got to be different. We, Christian men, have to do a better job of defending women in the culture from predators and I hope you can take up that challenge.”

Prior to the conferring of traditional undergraduate degrees, Gray awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree to the family of Stephen Trevor Whitaker, a member of the Vindicated Class of 2018 who passed away in December 2016.

“Trevor had a servant’s heart and he enjoyed serving God in whatever task he was presented,” Gray said. “His life and contributions to his community will long be remembered. He will forever be a member of the Vindicated Class and of the Asbury University family.”

More than 200 traditional undergraduate students walked across the stage and accepted their diplomas from Gray during Saturday’s ceremony, officially transforming from Asbury students to alumni ready to use their Asbury degrees to impact the world for Christ.

Join us in congratulating the Class of 2018 for all of their hard work and academic success.

Here are just a few things some members of the Class of 2018 shared on Saturday about the Asbury experience and looking ahead:

“I’m going to treat kids with mental illnesses and teach them how to be kings and queens.” – Debra Botwey ’18, Psychology

“I loved the ability to work with different professionals in the field and being able to have those experiences. We got to work with people who’ve written scripts for Hollywood, done set design for films, done audio work. It feels great being able to finish both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Asbury.” – David Schanck ’11 (M.A. in Communication: Digital Storytelling ’18)

“[I’m going to impact the world by] having that Christ-like integrity that I’m going to try to do my best to help anyone in any given situation, not necessarily audio so just [with] my character and [with] the things that Asbury has instilled in me and taught me [about] character.” – Quinnette Connor ’18, Media Communication with an Emphasis in Audio

“I’m really hoping to use my French degree to actually become fluent in French. My dream would be to make that something useful where I can connect with people through the language. That’s my dream right now.” – Julia Conley ’18, French & Equine Studies

“I had the most tremendous experience here at Asbury. I’m actually sad this is over — not the homework! — but I’ve loved the people here. Being a part of the family of God is such a big part of the experience.”- Leslie Linn ’18, B.S., Leadership and Ministry.