University Celebrates Spring Commencement Convocation


CHICAGO, IL (May 10, 2008) – On Saturday, May 10, with friends and family in attendance, North Park University celebrated its 115th Spring Commencement Convocation. 341 students from 11 countries crossed the stage to receive degrees at the baccalaureate and graduate level.

The ceremony was also blessed to include members of the class of 1958, who marched the aisle in their golden robes commemorating their own graduation from North Park Academy and Junior College fifty years ago.

Several awards were administered to deserving students. The Senior Par Excellence Awards were given to two students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and service to the University. Michele Good-Hanson, who received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, has served in many locations on campus, and participated as a Peer Academic Advisor and Writing Advisor. Joshua Hickok, who received a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies, has also served the University as a student worker at the Physical Plant.

Outstanding Senior Awards, which are presented annually to one male and one female who embody academic excellence and extraordinary leadership on and off campus, were conferred upon Laura Comeau and Tom Dierenfeld. Laura, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, was active in the University Ministries’ Urban Outreach program, the By the Hand Club, Hands-On Magazine, as well as participating in an internship for Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries, amongst other achievements. Tom, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts, held leadership positions in the Worship Band, Chapel Planning Team, and Young Life, as well as participating in the Gospel Choir, Small Groups, and the Friday Night Homeless Ministry.

The Ahnfeldt Medallion was presented to Erica Schwan, who graduated with a Bachelors of Science with a major in nursing, for outstanding academic performance.

The University also awarded two honorary doctoral degrees. Brenda Salter McNeil was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters degree for her work in bringing a message of Christian love, reconciliation, and healing to audiences in colleges, churches, and conferences around the globe. She is widely recognized as one of the most effective leaders and speakers in the field of racial and ethnic reconciliation in America today. During her acceptance speech, she described this generation of graduates as the “reconciliation generation”.

Ivor H. Jenkins was awarded a Doctorate of Laws for his years of anti-apartheid activism and his efforts in justice, reconciliation and democracy-building within and far beyond the borders of South Africa. He also served as the key contact for eight study tours by North Park students to South Africa, and opened doors to everything from Parliament, churches, and schools, to the Robben Island prison, squatter camps, and the former black townships. “South Africa has come to North Park and North Park has been brought to South Africa,” Jenkins said, through the affiliation he and North Park have shared throughout the years.

Fulbright Award recipient Rebecca Miller was also honored during the ceremony.

The University congratulates these graduates and honorary doctorate recipients and prays God’s blessings on them as they go forth into the world to lead lives of significance and service.

View Spring Commencement photos