Gordon in the News: last updated 06/13/2011

Members of Gordon's Class of 2011 Graduate to New Opportunities

May 23, 2011

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—Under surprisingly clear skies and with spring flowers in bloom, 403 students from the Class of 2011 graduated Saturday, May 21, during Gordon’s 119th Commencement celebration.

Along with their families, friends and professors, the Class of 2011 began graduation weekend by inviting President R. Judson Carlberg—who is retiring June 30—and his wife, Jan, to address the class at the Baccalaureate Service Friday, May 20, at 5 p.m. in A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel.

The Carlbergs thanked the students and their families for their prayers and notes of encouragement and then offered the class what they called four channel markers or buoys to navigate their way through times ahead: 1. Be linked in to others; 2. Have faith to fail; 3. Take risks; and 4. Stay alert.

“We’ve used these four buoys in our lives these past 35 years, and they’ve always helped us stay on course,” said President Carlberg. “Staying connected to others especially means you are part of a community. We couldn’t have provided leadership without the help of many people in our community.” 

“Being prepared to fail is a great opportunity to invite God and others to come alongside,” said Mrs. Carlberg. “And you won’t get anything done if you don’t risk,” she continued. “So also stay alert. That often means singing even when you might not feel like it.”

Saturday morning 369 undergraduate students and 34 graduate students received their diplomas. The number of graduates by division included: Fine Arts, 99; Education, 33; Humanities, 65; Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, 44; Social and Behavioral Sciences, 127.

Graduates heard from Commencement speaker Chai Ling, a student leader in the 1989 pro-democracy student movement in Tiananmen Square. She is now cofounder and chief operating officer of Jenzabar, an educational software company.

Chai has been instrumental in leading the Jenzabar Foundation, which supports the humanitarian efforts of student leaders worldwide, and recently she launched a nonprofit organization called All Girls Allowed, to help end what she calls “gendercide” in China’s one-child policy. 

Chai told the graduates to remember that “God gives life purpose. And He is, in fact, our purpose. When we become who we’re supposed to be, we can set the world on fire.”

Provost Mark Sargent announced the Distinguished Senior and Junior Faculty Awards of the year: Ted Wood, professor of economics and business, who is retiring this year, received the Distinguished Senior Faculty Award. Graeme Bird, associate professor of linguistics and classics, was honored as the Distinguished Junior Faculty member.

In addition to giving silver dollars to President Carlberg as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, members of the Class of 2011 announced the gift of an artistic mural to be completed for the Ken Olsen Science Center by two members of their class.

The number of graduating students by department included: art, 28; biblical studies and Christian ministries, 22; biology, 19; chemistry, 3; communication arts, 38; economics and business, 47; education, 30; English language and literature, 28; history, 16; kinesiology, 11; languages and linguistics, 14; mathematics and computer science, 7; music, 25; philosophy, 1; physics, 4; political science, 7; international affairs, 9; psychology, 21; recreation and leisure studies, 3; sociology and social work, 27; theatre arts, 9.

In addition, graduate education had 24 graduates, and graduate music education had 10 graduates.


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 38 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu