North Park University Confers Degrees at 2012 Winter Commencement Convocation
Degrees were presented December 14 to North Park University graduates at Winter Commencement.
245 students expected to earn graduate and undergraduate degrees
CHICAGO (December 17, 2012) — Before a full house in the North Park Gymnasium and a significant audience watching a live webcast, North Park University presented degrees December 14 at its 2012 Winter Commencement convocation. The University expected to confer undergraduate and graduate degrees to 245 students.
Bachelor's degrees were presented to an anticipated 168 students representing a wide range of undergraduate majors and the School of Adult Learning. Master's degrees were presented to an expected 77 students from the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, School of Education, School of Nursing, and North Park Theological Seminary.
In his charge to the graduates, the president of North Park University, Dr. David Parkyn, cited the biblical stories of creation in Genesis and Jesus' birth in the Gospel of Luke. God stopped on the seventh day, according to the creation story, and Mary paused to ponder after the shepherds left the manger, he noted. In both cases, each stopped to claim as holy the creation and the infant Jesus, Parkyn suggested. The same can be said of significant life events, such as graduation, he observed.
"On this night we stop, ever so briefly, to mark learning, to mark your life as a student, as holy. We stop to ponder, we stop to remember, we stop to claim the act of learning as holy, and to claim as holy all you have learned," the University president told the graduates. Graduation is "a sacred moment in your life, even as each day of the past years of learning at North Park has been a holy time," Parkyn added.
The convocation included Scripture and prayers, choral performances by the University Choir, a graduation litany, and presentation of degrees by University deans. Students led the procession with the flags of countries and territories in which graduates were born, are citizens, or have been residents. The flags included those of the United States, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, Romania, Serbia, and Sweden. The commencement program included a benediction from Numbers 6:24-26, read by graduates in nine languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish. Rev. Judy Peterson, campus pastor, concluded with a prayer and blessing for the graduates.
The University began its commencement with a recognition of the tragic school shooting earlier in the day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn. "As an educator, I have always thought the adventure of learning is meant to give life, yet today for 26 people, school became a place where life ended," Parkyn said. "I'm also reminded as an educator of the … individuals who died having dedicated their lives, like many in the room tonight, to helping students fulfill their dreams." The president's comments were followed by a moment of silence and prayer.
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