CIRCLEVILLE —Ohio Christian University held its 72nd commencement ceremony to honor those 401 Trailblazers who earned their diplomas on Saturday at the Ministry and Performing Arts Center.
Naming each graduation class is a unique tradition for OCU with this year’s class being called “The Proclaimers” — a name inspired by a Bible verse that comes from Luke 4:18-19, which says: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Along with naming the class, these scholars receive a Bible verse from which their name, identity and the logo come from.
Ruth Edmonds and Kelly Kullberg served as the commencement speakers.
As Director of Christian Engagement at the Center for Christian Virtue, Edmonds congratulated graduates in a ceremony dedicated to adult learners along with those hardworking students who earned online and master’s degrees.
Echoing Scripture from the Book of Corinthians, Edmonds spoke of the importance of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
“I say to you graduates, eyes have not seen, ears have not heard nor has it entered into the hearts of man what God has in store for those who love Christ,” she said to loud applause. “And I hope you love Him because I do.”
Applying a Biblical reference from the Book of Matthew, Edmonds said to be a follower of Christ, one must not be afraid to step out of the boat to walk on water so as go “boldly where you’ve never gone before.”
“I want to congratulate you on your academic excellence and successful student orientation,” said Edmonds, who serves on the Board of Trustees for the J. Jireh Development Corporation, a faith-based inner city ministry to benefit youth and homeless men. “You got out of the boat and you walk on water. I want to challenge you to set your head by Flint and focus leadership in a Christ centered way, because you are about to board another new boat and head out to water. Again, I want to charge you to remain biblically worldview based and ministry motivated all the rest of your days because this Christian life will forever present thresholds of getting out of the boat and walking on water.”
Edmonds encouraged graduates to remain strong, steadfast against darkness.
“There’s no time to get nauseated or sick of the wind and the waves of life,” said Edmonds, an ordained minister. ‘We must be strong and of a good courage and pursuing the call when our lives and the war against darkness. Now, the first trial part you’ve accomplished — you’re here and it’s graduation day, but in the days to come, the degree to which you embrace the challenge of leadership and the Christ centeredness, and be true to the charge of remaining biblical worldview based and ministry motivated will testify to the value you place on your own destiny.”
As chaplain with the Harvard Graduate School of Christian Fellowship, Kullberg established the Veritas Forum. Veritas means “truth” and Kullberg envisioned the Forum as a place for students to raise and explore their hardest questions in relation to the person and worldview of Christ for whom Harvard College was originally founded. Kullberg addressed traditional graduates who earned associates and bachelor’s degrees.
“You are going forth, comencing, into your future in an epic time of American history,” she said. “You have the opportunity to be a leading light into a hurting and confused world.”
OCU is a private Christian college in Circleville, Ohio. The school is denominationally affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Christian Union.