A Celebratory Graduation
Graduation events acknowledge Providence's 85 years of Growing Stronger
On April 23-25, Providence College and Seminary hosted graduation events on the Otterburne campus, presenting 149 degrees, diplomas and certificates at the College and Seminary ceremonies. On May 1, ten degrees were awarded to students at the Providence Seminary extension school at Ambrose University in Calgary, AB.
It is exciting to note that nine of the 56 Seminary graduates (a noteworthy number in and of itself) also received their undergraduate degrees at Providence, and 13 College graduates have at least one parent who is a Providence alumnus.
Graduation events and celebrations began on Friday when 21 students received their TESOL certificates. At the Seminary graduation banquet later that evening, 12 students received awards honouring their outstanding achievements. A second Seminary banquet and ceremony was held one week later at Ambrose University College where ten students graduated with an MA in Counselling. Dr. David Johnson challenged the graduates to add grace to the knowledge they gained in their education.
At the Otterburne-campus Seminary graduation ceremony on Saturday morning, Providence recognized the accomplishment of four Master of Divinity and 26 Master of Arts graduates, and also conferred awards to Seminary alumni Joanna (McLeod) Shaule and Dwight Johnson. Dwight Johnson received the Distinguished Christian Leadership Award. Johnson graduated from Providence Seminary in 1975 and moved to Langley, BC, to work at Trinity Western University where he is now Executive Director of Development. A large measure of Trinity Western’s success can be attributed to Johnson’s behind-the-scenes work with churches and individuals.
Saturday evening gave the College grads a chance to celebrate with family and friends at the College graduation banquet, where 21 College students also received awards.
At the College graduation ceremony on Sunday afternoon, the Jubilee Auditorium was filled to capacity. Dr. Randall Holm began his graduation address with a delightful illustration about his own thesis defense, comparing it to the pressure Peter must have felt when Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21). Dr. Holm urged the graduates to go forward in life trusting in what they have learned at Providence. “Class of 2010, whatever you are graduating with, whether you are going on to further studies or going on to work, today, set your mind on divine things. Feed God’s sheep. Above all else, follow him and upon you he will build his kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against us.”
The government of Manitoba acknowledged the achievements of international students by awarding 23 international graduates with certificates of recognition. The gesture acknowledged the challenges of studying away from home, and often in an entirely different culture and language.
The College ceremony also recognized the role of Christian leadership in Manitoba by presenting two distinguished awards. Murray Taylor, chief executive officer of Investors Group and co-president and chief executive officer of IGM Financial Inc., received the College Distinguished Christian Leadership Award. Taylor is a founding member of the Imagine Leadership Challenge, serves on the Board and Vice-Chair of the Business Council of Manitoba, and is a member of the President’s Advisory Council for the University of Manitoba. Taylor has also served with camp ministries, church committees at his home church, and Compassion Canada.
The Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, was presented to Donald S. Reimer, chairman and chief executive officer of Reimer World Corp. Dr. Reimer’s past service includes the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada, the Federal Transportation Sectorial Advisory Group on International Trade, and the International Trade Advisory Committee. Dr. Reimer has served notably in Manitoba on the Board of Directors of the Health Sciences Centre Research Foundation and the Board of Governors of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, as well as serving on the boards of several Christian organizations including World Vision and Youth for Christ International. Donald and Anne Reimer have devoted their life to faithfully supporting the work of God’s kingdom, in particular Christian university education. A small example is Dr. Reimer’s role as lead donor to the Reimer Student Life Centre, named in recognition of his brother Gerald who served for 25 years on the Board of Governors of Providence College and Seminary.
In another memorable moment, Craig Robertson acknowledged peers and professors in the valedictory address. A graduate of the BA in Youth Leadership program, Robertson drew special attention to the community and support he felt at Providence, specifically from staff and faculty.
Robertson said, “This place has nurtured us intellectually and spiritually. They took the time to get to know us, our lives, and our separate personalities. This is what sets Providence apart from other schools.” Robertson spoke with passion and emphasis, stepping back from the podium to encourage the audience to applaud the staff and faculty’s hard work and commitment. The audience of students, friends, and family enthusiastically obliged, and it was many moments before the Jubilee Auditorium quieted.
That long applause was especially significant in Providence’s 85th year. Since most of this year’s graduates have attended Providence for at least three years, they have been with Providence through one of the most challenging periods the school has faced in a long time: the financial challenges of the economic downturn. Their applause demonstrated recognition from the student body—and from the entire gathering of students, alumni, family, friends, and supporters—of the Providence staff and faculty’s dedication.
Accompanied by cheers, nodding heads and appreciative expressions, the ovation seemed to say, “Times are tough, but you have persevered. You have been here for us and seen us through, demonstrating your faith and your mission to us. Thank you.”
As Providence celebrates 85 years, our graduates know that Providence is growing stronger.
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Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
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Providence University College & Seminary