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Nearly one thousand people attended various festivities ending the academic year
A giant Graduation celebration this past weekend ended the academic year for Providence University College and Theological Seminary. Nearly one thousand people attended various festivities. For the third year all graduation events were held on campus in Otterburne.
At 11 AM on Friday, April 20, the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) was awarded to nineteen students who completed thirty-two hours in TESOL. After the Friday afternoon graduation rehearsal, all graduates were welcomed into the Providence Alumni Association by Susan Meszaros, Alumni Coordinator.
Friday evening saw about 200 people attend the Seminary graduation banquet. Various awards were given to students at this banquet. Three students shared about their seminary experience and Clinton Kroeker encouraged his fellow graduates with the song, “Take My Life.” Also recognized at the banquet were twenty-one students (one of whom was present) who received the Diploma in Biblical Counselling in cooperation with Northern Youth Missions. These students are often from the far north and many are Inuit and First Nations.
On Saturday morning at 10 AM the Seminary held its graduation ceremony. Dr David Johnson, Professor of New Testament and Executive Vice President/Provost gave the graduation address. He called the graduates to follow Christ’s command to give up everything and follow Him. He also noted that while following Christ has a huge cost, it also promises satisfaction and freedom in life, “knowing that you are not your own.” Two special awards were given at the ceremony. Irma Janzen was recognized as alumna of the year for 2012. Janzen’s work with the Mental Health and Disabilities Program of the Mennonite Central Committee and her work with international students were noted in particular. David Loewen received the Distinguished Christian Leadership Award for his service, first with Camp Arnes and more recently with Kingdom Ventures, a ministry that facilitates Christian camping ministries in the former Soviet Union.
In the graduation exercise thirty-three students received Master of Arts degrees in the disciplines of theological and Christian studies, counselling, counselling psychology, educational studies, and global studies. Nine students received the Master of Divinity degree, and two students received the Doctor of Ministry degree. These graduates have all prepared to serve the church in various capacities. The largest degree programs at the Seminary are counselling and counselling psychology. A number of these students are graduating from the Seminary’s extension program on the campus of Ambrose Theological Seminary in Calgary, Alberta. They will be awarded their diplomas at Ambrose on May 5. The Seminary Valedictorian for the year was Rick Wadholm, who encouraged the graduates to listen to the voice of the Spirit of God.
Saturday night featured the University College graduation banquet. About 320 people attended, including graduates, continuing students, faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, and friends. Many awards were given out to graduating students for their exemplary work during the academic year. Two students reflected on their experience at Providence over the last three years. A faculty instrumental trio shared a stirring work by Mendelssohn, and Joel Jolly ended the evening with a rendition of an old Beatles song.
Dr August Konkel, Professor of Old Testament and President, preached at the Providence Baccalaureate service on Sunday morning at 10:30. His message from Job 28 was entitled, “The Limits of Wisdom.” He cited the Providence mission to teach people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service. He noted from Job 28 that knowledge is not enough and that we cannot know everything. Knowledge yields corruptible power, so it must be accompanied by Christian character.
After a lunch in the cafeteria, the University College graduation ceremony took place at 2:00 PM. The graduation address was delivered by Dr Dennis Hiebert, Professor of Sociology. He said that truth is only known in the context of community. He encouraged graduates to pursue truth courageously and in that pursuit to be open to change. Finally, he noted that truth in Scripture is accompanied by compassion.
Fifty-two students received the Bachelor of Arts degree and three students received the Bachelor of Theology. The largest majors among this year’s graduates were Social Sciences, Communications and Media, Youth Leadership, and Biblical Studies. In addition, Professor Henry Engbrecht was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters. Engbrecht is Professor Emeritus of Choral Studies at the University of Manitoba. His work in choral studies and with choirs spans decades from his youth to the present. His work in the church is well-known in southern Manitoba and his choral work is recognized internationally. The Valedictorian for this year was Mark Gareau. He challenged his fellow graduates to follow the apostle Paul in their future work. He noted from Acts 20 that Paul was open to his fellow workers.
At both ceremonies Dr August Konkel, retiring President, was given a gold medallion bearing the institutional seal. This event commemorates the first graduating class of the institution that now bears the name Providence University College and Theological Seminary. Dr Konkel worked tirelessly to include officially the designation University for Providence. The medallion will be passed to all future presidents who will wear this medallion with their academic garb to signify the stewardship that resides in the President’s office for Providence University College and Theological Seminary as it carries out its mission to “teach people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service.”
For further information contact:
David Johnson, Executive VP/Provost
10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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