Along with their families, friends and professors, 311 undergraduate students and 55 graduate students participated in Gordon College’s 121st commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Sunny skies and a temperate breeze accompanied a celebratory atmosphere as assembled guests and faculty cheered graduates as they took their turns striding across the podium—capping the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
This year’s graduates represented a broad range of the liberal arts majors, with economics and business—which offers four specific majors: finance, accounting, business administration, and economics—graduating the largest number of students (38), followed by education (33), psychology (28), sociology and social work (28), and communication arts (23). Other graduates represented majors including biblical studies and Christian ministries, art, biology, recreation and leisure studies, kinesiology, languages and linguistics, theatre arts, music, political science, international affairs, physics, chemistry, philosophy, mathematics and computer science, English language and literature, and history.
Honorary degrees were presented to Dr. Ann Ferguson, professor emeritus of English, who taught for 55 years at Gordon College; Dr. R. Preston Mason, a 1985 Gordon graduate in biology, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and CEO of the Beverly-based biotechnology firm Elucida Research; and Dr. Benedito Guimarães Aguiar Neto, president of Mackenzie Presbyterian University in Brazil.
Dr. Ferguson’s award drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from her former faculty colleagues.
Provost Janel Curry announced the two distinguished faculty awards—chosen by students and traditionally kept a secret until Commencement. The senior award went to Dr. Valerie Gin, chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure. The junior award was given to Dr. Brian Glenney, assistant professor of philosophy.
Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay delivered the 2013 commencement address. “Commencement’ means beginning,” said President Lindsay, who borrowed imagery from Psalm 127, which compares young people to arrows, seeking the targets God intends for them and for His greater good.
“Today may mark the end of your season at Gordon, but it represents a new beginning for each and every one of you,” he said. “Go forward with confidence, courage and godly ambition. The pages of your story await your pen, and we are here to support you every step of the way. We look forward to seeing the path that God lays out for you. Like the psalmist’s arrows, you will be sent far from this place, and when we think of where you might go from here, the sky is the limit.”