North Park University Confers 269 Degrees at 2013 Winter Commencement


Graduates called to continue discovering their dream

For 269 graduates, making it to the commencement stage on Friday, December 13 in the North Park Gymnasium was a dream come true. The hours of planning, saving, and studying finally earned that moment in front of a full house of family and friends.

Bachelor’s degrees were presented to 180 students, representing a wide range of undergraduate majors from across the University, including the School of Adult Learning. Graduate degrees and certificates were awarded to 89 students from the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, School of Education, School of Nursing, and North Park Theological Seminary.

“You’ve made it,” said North Park University President David L. Parkyn, welcoming the crowd from the stage decorated in poinsettias and flags representing the international diversity of graduates. “This is your night!”

But as students are taught throughout their North Park education, their time at the University and the degrees they earned are about much more than individual achievement.

“Serve, North Park proclaims, and in service you’ll begin to discover your dream,” Parkyn said during his charge to graduates. “Continue to serve after you’ve graduated and you’ll continue to discover your dream.”

Dr. Parkyn talked of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous dream, and its echoes throughout the history of Christian faith and Scripture. “Call it service, call it loving your neighbor as Jesus does, call it loving kindness as the Hebrew prophet does—call it anything you like but get ahold of it because discovering your dream starts in serving others—while you’re a student and after you graduate.”

The commencement program included a reading from Proverbs, choral performances by the University Choir, a graduation litany, and a presentation of degrees by University deans. Students were led into the gymnasium by a procession of flags of countries and territories in which graduates were born, are citizens, or have been residents. The flags of the United States, the city of Chicago, and North Park University led the procession, followed by the flags of Assyria, Brazil, Finland, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sweden.

The commencement ceremony also featured a benediction from Numbers 6:24-26, read by graduates in five languages, including Mongolian, French, Finnish, Swedish, and Tagalog. Rev. Judy Peterson, campus pastor, concluded with a prayer and blessing for the graduates.

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