About 7,500 people descended upon Regent University Saturday, May 9, to celebrate Commencement. Nearly 1,000 students walked in the ceremony as the university awarded 1500 degrees. Faculty and students dressed in caps and gowns marched to their seats at the University Library Plaza. Morning fog broke away to clouds which eventually vanished to reveal sun.
Regent’s Founder, Chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson greeted the crowd after complete versions of the Star Spangled Banner and Doxology were sung by the Regent Singers, an a capella ensemble. He noted that as of 2015, Regent University will have more than 20,000 alumni, and the university continues to grow as it introduces some 40 new programs.
“It is a great day to be part of Regent University, and this is going to be a tremendous graduation,” said Robertson. “Congratulations to all of you!”
Dr. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, and a Regent alumnus, created a context for Commencement. In his keynote address to students, he reminded them of “Christian leadership to change the world,” Regent’s motto, and described for them the condition of the world they are entering.
“We call the World War II generation the ‘greatest generation,'” said Sekulow. “I believe your generation has that same responsibility, to be the greatest generation, because the threats, the level of engagement, the adversaries are sophisticated, and are here and in your country of origin. We are supposed to be Christian leaders to change the world. How do you change the world when it is changing so rapidly around you? How you change is by adapting yourself to the situation you find yourself in. You rely on all of the knowledge God has allowed you to acquire, but maintain a degree of flexibility and humility as you exercise those gifts you’ve been given.”
Sekulow acknowledged recent unrest in the America and turned to Acts 4:29 to remind graduates that they are to speak God’s Words in boldness.
“Be bold, flexible, and open,” said Sekulow. “Understand opportunities you’ve been given and focus on fellow human beings, no matter your area of study. We are the ambassadors of hope. We are the regents of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”
Graduates were encouraged to enter into their futures with boldness to resist evil, restore relationships and persevere.
“Leadership is perseverance,” said Sekulow “Dr. Robertson has a sign in the studio that says ‘accomplish something so big that only God could make it happen.’ If your focus is upon the Lord, that perseverance is easy to maintain.”
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 to you today is be strong,” said Robertson. “As you leave here, don’t minimize the strength that you have. You have strength in Jesus Christ. You have strength that God has put inside of you. You have strength in the Holy Spirit, and more than anything, you have the strength of the Word of God. The apostle Paul said ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation for all of those who believe.'”
Also, during the ceremony, Dr. Gary Roberts, professor in the Robertson School of Government, received the Chancellor’s Award, presented annually to an outstanding faculty member.
The 2015 Alumnus of the Year, U.S. Representative Scott Rigell, ’90 (SBL), spoke of his experience at Regent 25 years ago.
“There are many, many thousands of Regent graduates who are serving with excellence and changing the world,” said Rigell. “So often in our Christian life we elevate the need for humility. There’s an equally important principle, that is, as Christian leaders in whatever field, we are to reflect confidence and boldness and our creator God who has given us potential so our lives reflect conviction and courage.”
Graduates were then recognized as they stepped across stage to shake hands with Robertson and receive their degrees. The procession flowed constantly until Regent’s 20,000th graduate, Lydia Crutchfiield, made her way across the stage. The crowd cheered as cannons launched blue and green confetti.
Proud parents and friends continued to celebrate once the ceremony concluded. They posted pictures of their graduates using #RegentGrad15.
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