Asbury Celebrates with the Class of 2014
WILMORE, Ky. — Drizzly skies could not put a damper on the atmosphere of celebration at Asbury University as the graduating Class of 2014 commenced a new season of excellence and impact.
Ceremonies began Friday evening as graduates and their families gathered with faculty, staff and administrators for Baccalaureate services in Hughes Auditorium. Senior music majors presented selections featuring their vocal and instrumental skills as the group gathered, and Rev. David MacFarland encouraged the seniors to emulate the apostle Philip, who “got up and went” when the Lord instructed him to explain the Scriptures to an Ethiopian official.
“We’re responsible for being a ‘got up and went’ people,” he said. “If we’ll do that, God will do the rest. Through ‘got up and went’ people, the kingdom exploded into the most unlikely places — and grace abounds. You have the opportunity to be the ‘got up and went’ people God calls us to be.”
On Saturday, Asbury held two commencement ceremonies — one for traditional undergraduates and one for graduate students and Adult Professional Studies candidates. Among the many personal stories of perseverance and accomplishment were the experiences of Lucy Kilmer of Coppell, Texas, who finished her criminal justice degree online more than 40 years after first attending Asbury. Also, Asbury celebrated its first class of students to receive the Education Specialist designation, a post-graduate program which requires 30 hours of coursework beyond a master’s degree.
“It has been a busy and demanding schedule getting to graduation, and the emotions about graduating run the scale,” said graduate Gary Fuller of Cynthiana, Ky. “It is exciting, of course. It is a milestone in my life. The question now is, ‘What are you going to do?’ Continue to live one day, moment to moment and discover the new opportunities to be a blessing.”
Graduates at both ceremonies might have thought they were done with tests, but Commencement speaker Alec Hill posed several challenging questions on the nature of courageous leadership in uncertain times. Hill has had a varied career in academic and nonprofit management and currently serves as president and chief executive office of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.
“Are you willing to stand up for your convictions?” he asked. “Are you willing to act counter-culturally? Are you willing to pay the cost of your convictions? As you leave Asbury, you are entering a world in profound change. I want you to think of leading courageously.”
What does Asbury mean to you?
“The biggest thing I have appreciated about Asbury has been the professors — how much time they dedicate to their students, both in and out of the classroom, particularly Professor Randy Richardson and Dr. Burnie Reynolds. I’ve really grown through being able to see different points of view. I know in my political science classes I’ve been challenged to look outside my own ideology and try and see where other people are coming from. Asbury is a great place to build community and relationships.”
— Patrick La Mar, undergraduate
“I love the small community, and how everyone knows each other. We’re all just like one big family. I really think it’s from all the events and activities we have constantly, so we can just have fun and not be stressed out all the time. I’m excited and nervous about graduation. I feel so comfortable here that I hate to leave, and I hate to leave all of my friends. It’s a great place.”
— Allee Bolton, undergraduate
"Looking back, I really appreciate the care and love I felt from every professor I had at Asbury. They prayed with me, prayed for me and showed genuine concern for things going on in my life. As an adult student, life sometimes gets in the way of academics, but they were willing to work with me and ensured that I was able to fully participate in learning, whether I had to miss a class meeting or not.
Something else I really appreciate about my experience at Asbury is that the topic-at- hand was always able to be made relevant to me. We have all experienced ‘busy work’ but I'm glad I can say that I never had any of that here. Every paper I wrote and project I worked on was specifically designed to help my current professional state and to help me down the road.
I guess if I had to choose a specific thing I will always remember from Asbury, it would be the devotions we did at the beginning of each and every class I took. That time of prayer and reflection always set the mood for the class, allowing us to clear our heads and focus on what was really important.”
— Chelsea Kelly, Adult Professional Studies