About 1,500 Regent University graduates launched their futures with fresh degrees at Regent University’s 2016 commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 7. The Virginia Beach campus hosted thousands of friends and family members in its largest annual event celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2016.
“The cloud must not have got the message, but it will be on its way out of here soon!” said Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, Regent University founder, chancellor and CEO, as cloudy skies began to clear in time for commencement. “This is the largest commencement in Regent’s history.”
Founding member of U.S. Army’s Delta Force, LTG (ret) William G. “Jerry” Boykin addressed graduates. He brought wisdom from his experience with the U.S. Army, CIA and Family Research Council, and as an ordained minister, husband, father and grandfather. He asked five things of graduates – that they know what they believe and uphold the integrity and solidarity of family, embark on a quest for life-long learning, remember history while keeping current, get involved in their communities, and be proud to be Americans.
“What do you believe in?” asked Boykin. “Everything you believe in is going to be challenged when you leave this place.”
Boykin says many people no longer know or understand what they believe. He said some institutions of higher learning reject the teaching of western civilization, people on the street can’t identify historical events and their significance in America’s past, and Christians are conforming to the patterns of this world. He encouraged Christians to get involved by voting, volunteering and holding their leaders accountable.
“Get out and vote, and be involved!” said Boykin. “Teach Sunday School. Can you coach? Do you have an athletic skill? Go out and coach children. There are so many fatherless children in our country today. They need a man or a mother who will influence them.”
Boykin wrapped up his remarks by reminding graduates they are part of the greatest country on earth and they should be proud to be Americans.
Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano, Regent’s executive vice president of academic affairs, recognized outstanding graduates from each of Regent’s eight schools, and Robertson pronounced his charge to graduates.
“My charge is to be strong,” said Robertson. “You are going to encounter all kinds of opposition. The culture today is hostile to religious belief. You’re going into a hostile culture, but at the same time, you’re going into an accepting culture because people around the world are hungry to know the truth of God. People by the tens of millions are coming to the Lord.”
Robertson encouraged students, sharing a story from his ministry at CBN, that many people of different languages are receiving the network’s television programming and are hearing about Christ.
“The apostle Paul said it so well,” said Robertson. “He said, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God unto salvation for whoever believes.’ So, when you go forth from this place, my charge for you today is be strong! Be very courageous, because the author of all life, the creator of the heavens and the earth is with you. God almighty will be with you… and remember, you will be a victor, and we pray for your victorious life, and we look forward to you coming back and tell us of the accomplishments you are achieving as the graduates of Regent University.”
Dr. Kathleen Patterson, professor in the School of Business and Leadership (SBL), received the Chancellor’s Award, which is presented each year to an outstanding faculty member. Patterson serves as the program administrator for the school’s Doctorate of Strategic Leadership (DSL) program and is known for her scholarship, expertise and work in the area of servant leadership. The SBL credits her with establishing its reputation in the topic, and adding a Christian perspective to scholarly research in servant leadership. Her work has created concentrations in three different programs across two of Regent’s schools.
A new recognition was presented to those who, over their lifetime, have donated one million dollars or more to Regent University. Five inaugural members were inducted into the Society of the Cross and Shield.
The 2016 Alumna of the Year, Kristen Waggoner, Esq., ’97 (LAW), and senior vice president of legal services and senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, encouraged graduates to become world-changing alumni.
“Graduates, God has intentionally placed in you specific talents, skills and passions, and the university has helped you to hone those talents and skills to further your vocation,” said Waggoner. “God has not given you those talents or those skills to serve your own desires, because God has not just saved you from something, he saved you for something. That is the good news. Ephesians tells us He created, in advance, good works for you to do. In light of this truth, I urge you to fully embrace that calling with courage, to stand immovable, and abound in the work of the Lord.”
Graduates stepped across stage to receive their diplomas and shake hands with their deans. Also, during the ceremony, two undergraduate ROTC students were commissioned into the military. Proud parents and friends continued to celebrate once the ceremony concluded. They posted pictures of their graduates using #RegentGrad16.
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