The 100 members of Bethel’ Class of 2012 enter an unknown future with hope and faith in a God who loves them and the strong backing of a community that has nurtured them.
The college’s 119th commencement took place Sunday, May 20, beginning with baccalaureate in the morning at Bethel College Mennonite Church.
"At the end of the day, we’re family," said Ryan Goertzen, Goessel, one of four students giving reflections at the service. "We can count on each other."
Ritual and music, poetry, prayers and Scripture readings reinforced the baccalaureate theme expressed in a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you." ....
During commencement in Thresher Stadium that afternoon, administrators and faculty formed two columns for the graduates to pass between for both the processional and recessional, to symbolize the care college leaders provided the graduates during their time as students and the blessing wished for them as they enter the world as Bethel alumni.
Rick McNary, Potwin, father of graduate Andrew McNary and founder and CEO of Numana, Inc., recalled a time when his young son was sick and begged him to "Hold me closer, Dad." As he gave the invocation, McNary asked God to "Hold [the graduates] close, Father. Please hold them close."
Commencement speaker Susan Schultz Huxman, president of the youngest Mennonite college in North America, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario, brought greetings and congratulations to Bethel, the oldest Mennonite college in the continent.
She noted that, despite their age differences, the two institutions are "connected by heritage, mission, shared values - and even shared alumni."
Huxman, a 1982 Bethel graduate, is also the mother of 2012 graduate Julia Huxman, as well as the daughter of Carolyn and former Bethel College President Harold Schultz. She urged students to savor special memories of the past and to keep their stories alive.
Hindsight, Huxman said, is "the ability to see what has come before you" and is one of three ways of seeing that graduates should pack in their "pro-visions" for life. Like water is to the fish that swim in it, these three ways are "hidden in plain sight."
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