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Clarks Summit University Celebrates 86th Commencement

Published May 12, 2018 in News

Clarks Summit University celebrated the graduating class of 2018 with a Commencement ceremony on the morning of Saturday, May 12 in the Recreation Center on campus in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania. This year marks the university’s 86th Commencement.

More than 225 graduates were awarded degrees, including 144 with undergraduate degrees, 50 with master’s degrees and 31 with a master’s or doctoral degree from Baptist Bible Seminary.

Dr. Jim Lytle, CSU’s 10th president, opened the ceremony by addressing the graduates, saying, “We want you to be both Christ-centered and career-ready. We want you to show you know Him in every single part of your life, because He will guide you.”

New Chairman of the Board as Keynote Speaker

Matthew Calderón, chairman of the Board of Trustees at CSU, was the keynote speaker. Calderón has served in education for 25 years, currently at Pembroke Central School District as the superintendent. He has earned his Master of Science in Education degrees from Brockport State College and Canisius College. He and his wife Nickie have actively served in local church ministry for over 20 years, most recently at Grace Baptist Church in Batavia, New York.

He challenged new graduates with “Last Words Before a New Beginning,” sharing how Jesus encouraged His disciples in John 16. Calderón reminded, “When we abide in Him, we can have peace in troubled times, and that is how we overcome.”

He challenged graduates, “Your true job is to reach people so that they can know God…in part, that means you walk away today with credentials…but more significantly, it means you’re walking away with a degree that is infused with God’s truth.” Trouble will come, he admitted, but he and challenged graduates, “Will you blend in, will you crumble…or will you recognize your role at work of helping others to know God?” He concluded with asking the class of 2018 to remember, “I will have trouble, but in Him I may have peace.”

Unique Ceremony Features

Dr. Kezia Curry is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Global Kaleidoscope, LLC-Educational Consulting. She performed the vocal solo “That Name,” by Richard Smallwood, earning a standing ovation. Dr. Heather Hall of the Counseling program in the School of Theology read from the book of John, and Dr. Lee Kliewer, dean of Baptist Bible Seminary, gave the prayer of dedication. Dr. William Higley, vice president for academics, presented the candidates for graduation. The Concert Choir, under the direction of conductor Adam Schwamb, performed “Praise His Holy Name” by Keith Hampton.

Graduating students were asked to address the audience. Mitchell Raup, a Youth Pastoral major from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, said, “God has worked through so many experiences, relationships and conversations…Because of my time here I’m in love with God’s word.”

Haley Seboe, a Communications–Writing major from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, recently completed her internship at Regular Baptist Press in Chicago, Illinois. She shared her gratefulness to CSU for, “a biblically solid education and the opportunity to put learning into action.”

Kayla Vine, from Youngstown, New York, spoke after earning both her Bachelor of Science in Counseling degree with highest honor and Master of Science in Counseling degree, Magna Cum Loude. She earned both degrees at CSU in five years through the Accelerated Counseling program. “I’ve been surrounded by people here who have poured into me,” she said as she likened a tree producing seeds to the continual influence people can have on others in small ways, concluding, “I’m so excited to carry on and plant more seeds.”

Baptist Bible Seminary students Casey Jacobs and Thomas Kaleolani Dailey also addressed the audience. Jacobs, a registered nurse anesthetist from Toledo, Ohio, graduated from the Master of Divinity program and recently completed an internship with Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, through which he lead a team of healthcare professionals to serve alongside medical missionaries in Togo, West Africa. He said, “I have a great appreciation for the local body of believers that has faithfully given, has fervently prayed and affectionately cared for me and all of us as we walk this journey together. This is a journey we’ve never taken one step alone. Our God has always gone before us, and as we lead His people they are faithfully behind us.”

Dailey, from Virginia Beach, Virginia, earned a Doctor of Philosophy with a dissertation project, “Informal Conditions in the New Testament: A Triangulated Approach.” He cited the late Dr. Rod Decker as his mentoring professor. “I loved his classes,” he admitted, “It wasn’t just content, it was the character of the person helping me keep in reference what all of this content is for.” He concluded with encouragement form Colossians 1.

Surrounding Celebrations

Events surrounding Commencement included a reception for graduates and their families and an online student graduates’ luncheon.

Higley adds, “We collectively recognize and celebrate what God has done in the lives of our graduates. Moreover, we look forward with excitement to how God will use them in the future for His eternal purposes in the world they are entering.”

Watch the 86th Commencement ceremony.

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