Roberta Burns, of Stoutsville, Mo., was one of 179 seniors who participated in commencement exercises at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. Nine more Westminster students received diplomas in absentia.

Roberta Burns, of Stoutsville, Mo., was one of 179 seniors who participated in commencement exercises at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. Nine more Westminster students received diplomas in absentia.

Burns majored in business communication and business administration.

"It is my hope that Westminster has helped open and expand your mind and your heart; let yourself be challenged to explore, to grow, and to live a deeply authentic life, following in the footsteps of people who live well-not for themselves, but for the good of many," Dr. Carolyn Perry, who is Senior Vice President and Dean of Faculty at the College, told the graduates in front of a packed house at Champ Auditorium.

Dean Perry was introduced by Westminster President Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande.
The class of 2017 was also addressed by Senior Class President Mahima Poudel from Kathmandu, Nepal, and Chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees Hal Oakley '90 from Quincy, Ill.

Two seniors, Roberta Burns from Stoutsville and Jeremy Hill from Ashland, received Outstanding Senior Awards, presented by Kristen Jackson '06, vice president and incoming president of the Westminster College Alumni Council.

Prior to the commencement exercises, graduates attended a baccalaureate service at the First Presbyterian Church of Fulton, Mo., where the Rev. Dr. Deborah Boucher-Payne, General Presbyter of Missouri Union Presbytery, delivered a spiritual message inspiring graduates to go out as a community to love and serve.

As is the rich tradition of Westminster, the final rite of passage for the Class of 2017 was walking through the historic Columns and back into the world following the commencement ceremony.

Founded in 1851, Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. is one of the top liberal arts colleges in America, according to major educational ranking firms, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review and Washington Monthly. Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review and Washington Monthly. Westminster is a challenging academic environment where students receive the kind of one-on-one instruction and support needed to find the power in their purpose. Ninety-six percent of Westminster graduates start their first job or enroll in graduate or professional schools within six months of graduation.

To find out more about Westminster College, go to www.westminster-mo .