Accomplishing the race toward graduation, students from Vanguard’s undergraduate, graduate and professional studies programs walked across the Mariners church stage and received their diplomas. Along with the more than 500 graduates, the church auditorium filled with friends, family, faculty and staff to celebrate the students.
For the 2014 Commencement ceremony, Vanguard University chose well-known author, leader and speaker Christine Caine to give the Commencement speech. She is a member of the leadership team at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, the director of Equip and Empower Ministries and the co-founder of the A21 Campaign. Caine is a profoundly effective communicator who shares messages of hope and inspiration. One graduate, Kristen Atkins, said Caine had her “captivated the whole time” with a very relatable and encouraging message.
Now an official Vanguard University alumna, Atkins left the Commencement stage with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Along with many other graduates, Atkins carries her degree into an unknown, yet exciting future. When describing how it feels for her and many of the other graduates to have finally graduated, Atkins said: “We mentally know that we’ve got this big accomplishment done, but emotionally it hasn’t sunk in yet.” It’s all very surreal still, Atkins said.
Looking back on the momentous event, Atkins said: “Vanguard, overall, did a really good job with the whole ceremony.” Atkins said she enjoyed the entire lineup. From worship with the choir to Caine’s empowering speech, Atkins said the ceremony went by surprisingly fast while being engaging and enjoyable.
Before Commencement, Vanguard hosted the Baccalaureate Service at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on May 8. With music, scripture readings and a message from a student-selected speaker, the Baccalaureate Service celebrated and honored the graduating seniors. A longstanding tradition from medieval universities, the service first and foremost celebrates God’s faithfulness to graduating students. This year’s student-selected speaker was Barbi Rouse ’74, the director of Learning Skills and an assistant professor of Humanities.
Vanguard also hosted other graduation ceremonies to celebrate students in specific departments. On May 1, Vanguard’s Veterans Center hosted the Challenge Coin Ceremony to honor each of the graduating student veterans. On May 8, Vanguard’s Nursing Program hosted the Nursing Pinning Ceremony to honor nursing students and to present them with pins symbolizing devotion, care and sacrificial love. And on May 3, Vanguard’s Diversity Programming hosted the Hispanic Graduation Celebration.