By Joan C. McKinney, director, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “A great place to start your journey today is with love.”
Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Campbellsville University, shared this advice as she gave the address at two of Campbellsville University’s three commencement ceremonies Dec. 9 in Ransdell Chapel.
There were 668 candidates for graduation.
Hedgepath emphasized “legacy” and “love” in her two addresses. Legacy is often considered something that is left behind, but she said, “How about ‘Our legacy is now!’”
“My prayer is that you make each moment meaningful, not just for yourself, but for others. God calls us to love one another. Sounds simple right? But not really,” she said.
Hedgepath said love is the most powerful legacy one can leave, and everyone can demonstrate love.
“We usually do not have the luxury of knowing the actual scope or depth of our impact while living,” she said. “What we do today, the memories created with our loved ones, the emotions attached to those memories—that is what we remember.
“But still our decisions today will dictate our legacy after we’re gone.”
A great place to start your journey is with love, Hedgepath said.
“Graduates, my prayer for you is to not only love others, but to also receive love, by allowing God’s love to be seen through you, in your personal lives, your profession, the everyday mundane,” she said.
“As you commence through these doors and embark upon your next chapter, remember that you are now part of the legacy of CU. But most importantly, the legacy that is you.”
Hedgepath urged the graduates to not waste a minute waiting to live, because “today is your future,” she said.
“I pray God uses each of you—being the best version of “you”—to make a difference. So, what is your legacy today?”
Dr. Pat Cowherd, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Technology, addressed the candidates for graduation at the 6 p.m. ceremony.
“No matter what career you are pursuing or what major changes you are thinking about making, I hope you will seek God’s help in the decision,” she said.
“As you travel the ladder of success, I want to encourage you to be kind to each person you meet. Take an interest in people. Remember that every person has a story to tell.”
Cowherd told the graduates to do their best, no matter the position they hold.
“Go the extra mile in everything you do,” she said. “Don’t step over others to earn promotions or rewards. Earn your promotion or reward the old-fashioned way by being the best at what you do.
And, she told them to make a difference.
“Leave the world a better place than you found it,” Cowherd said. “We all have a brief period on earth. Make the best of the time you are given.”
In his charge, Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, said, “commencement means beginning.”
“We aren’t celebrating the end of your college career, but we are here today to announce the beginning of the next stage in your professional life, and, as a Campbellsville University graduate, you are ready,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins told the graduates, as “you commence this Christmas season and begin walking the pathway God has prepared for you, it is my prayer that you will be Christ to those you encounter along the way.”
“In a world that settles for digital substitutes, teletransportation and virtual relationships, choose to be incarnate, alive, in the flesh with those around you,” he said. “Take what you have gained here at CU, and be His hands, His feet, His tears and His heart to a world in need.”
Three students responded to Dr. Hopkins’ charge: Darionta JaForest Bell, of Anniston, Ala., who received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Ephraim Michael, of Tamil Nadu, India, who received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science; and Jessica Lynn Andres, of Shepherdsville, Ky., who received a Master in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Bell said Hopkins’ charge was “noble and one worth aspiring to meet.”
“It reminded me of the scripture for our Class of 2022, Proverbs 22:6: “’Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’”
He said, “As you plan for and strive to meet your next goals, remember that life is about the journey and the lessons you learn along the way. Also, be confident that wherever you end up, you are exactly where God has called you to be at that particular time.”
Michael said he had learned about servant leadership at Campbellsville University.
“Being a servant leader is about emphasizing the goal of serving others. More than anything, servant leadership is about making a choice to be authentic in a filtered and temporary culture.”
Michael said, “As we commence into a new chapter of our lives, remember the moment and remember that you proved to yourself and everyone around you that you can persevere and win.”
In her response to Hopkins’ charge, Andes said relationships matter.
“Life is all about relationships and the quality of those relationships. Relationships with others, the relationship you have with yourself, and, for myself, the relationship you have with God,” she said.
She asked her fellow students to use their unique talents and energy to impact their community positively.
“And by community, I mean that in the broadest of terms. This could be your family, workplace, neighborhood, place of worship or simply a stranger you meet during the course of your day.”
Abigail Grace Cissell of Lebanon, Ky., who received a Bachelor of Science in Biology; Jenna Sarah Croteau of Kanata, Ontario, who received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science; and Emily Savannah Gordon of Lebanon, Ky., who received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, were co-valedictorians.
Savannah Faye Benningfield of Lebanon, Ky., who received a Bachelor of Science in Biology, was salutatorian.
The students receive their degrees on the recommendation of the faculty and the approval of the Board of Trustees.
Ashley Fox, director of alumni relations, welcomed the graduates, on behalf of the Campbellsville University Alumni Association, to a “very proud, loyal and diverse family.” She said they belong to a network of over 18,000 alumni that spans many states and countries.
She asked the students to do three things: display their diploma with pride, help recruit students and make a gift in support of the university.
Dr. Tony Cunha, dean of the School of Music and professor of music, led the singing of hymns. Dr. Wesley Roberts, retired professor of music, was the organist. Lee led in prayer in all ceremonies, and Dr. Twyla Hernandez, chair of the Faculty Forum and professor of Christian missions, gave the benediction at all ceremonies.
Hopkins conferred their degrees upon completion of the requirements for their degrees.
Dr. Jeanette Parker, dean of the faculty and associate vice president for academic affairs, read the names of the graduates at the 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. ceremonies. Hedgepath and Dr. Nagamani Palla, instructor in computer science and lead professor of BA 500, read the names in the 6 p.m. ceremony.
To view the ceremonies, visit Campbellsville University’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/campbellsvilleuniversity.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.