The nearly 300 Hannibal-LaGrange University graduates who received degrees on Saturday, May 4, were advised to “see obstacles as opportunities” and remember that their future is in God’s hands.
A total of 279 degrees were awarded, with 50 graduates receiving an associate’s degree, 224 receiving a bachelor’s degree and five awarded a master’s degree.
Their commencement speaker, HLGU President Dr. Anthony Allen, challenged the graduates to believe that “if you claim the promises of the word of God, you can overcome obstacles.” Allen had just completed his first school year as HLGU president.
Recalling the Bible story of Joshua leading the Israelites into their promised land, Allen read Judges 3:1-6, and told the HLGU Class of 2013 that the Israelites faced a time of transition, “going into a vast unknown,” just as the graduates are experiencing as they leave HLGU.
The Israelites were encouraged to follow their leader and also follow the “presence of God,” Allen said. Like them, “we must proceed with boldness and cheerfulness.” He noted that “times of transition are inevitable but provide opportunities for new growth.
“Life will be full of decisions, “ Allen continued. “Always face the future knowing God will direct you.
“You can face the future with faith or fear, ” he said. Fear causes a natural response, such as “when you are chased by a grizzly bear. ... We shouldn’t be fearful when we face the future as Christ’s followers. We are called to be conquerors.”
He encouraged the grads to “put your faith and trust in God. We can be obedient or disobedient. Obedience requires submission to God.
“We can face the future with confidence, because we know who guides us,” Allen said. “You can’t know your future, but no matter what comes your way, God will keep you. ... God is never farther than a whispered prayer.”
Before Dr. Allen awarded the degrees to the graduates, two faculty members received special awards.
Dr. John C. Schafer received the Parkway Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Robert Bergen, HLGU associate dean of academic affairs, presented the award. Bergen noted that in addition to his duties as professor of business with HLGU for the past 26 years, Dr. Schafer has been involved in the publication of more than 10 articles related to business and education. He established the university’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda. And for many years Schafer has coordinated the annual competition of the Future Business Leaders of America on the HLGU campus.
The 2013 Staff Member of the Year Award was presented to Donna Nunn, assistant director of financial aid. As she presented the award to Nunn, Betty Anderson, dean of business and finance, reported Nunn has been with the university for 25 years and is known across the campus.
Page 2 of 2 - Among graduates participating in the program were two music majors. Meagan Connelly sang “Every Day is a Gift from the Lord,” accompanied by Austin Birkhead on trumpet.
Later the graduates’ pledge was led by Joshua Rosentreter and Megan Shadrick, recipients of the Who’s Who Among Seniors at HLGU Award.
During their processional and recessional, the HLGU Class of 2013 was accompanied by bagpiper James A. Hopkins.
A photo gallery will be posted on hannibal.net.