“As you make your life choices, realize that you are carrying Westminster with you, and the values of our great college—and hold tight to those values, allowing them to guide you,” Westminster College commencement speaker Dr. Carolyn Perry told the 179 seniors participating in the commencement exercises in Fulton, MO on Saturday, May 13. Nine more Westminster students received diplomas in absentia.
“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. 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, who described her as “the gentle giant, because she approaches every challenge with gentility, patience, and diplomacy, but just below the surface is a strength of principles and ideas that is gigantic and unwavering.”
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, IL.
Two seniors, Roberta Burns from Stoutsville, MO and Jeremy Hill from Ashland, MO, received Outstanding Senior Awards, presented by Kristen Jackson ’06, vice president and incoming president of the Westminster College Alumni Council.
Dr. Mike Amspoker, Cameron Day Chair and Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, received the Outstanding Faculty Award, presented by Heidi Ebersole ’92, outgoing president of the Westminster College Parents Association.
Alumnus and Westminster Board of Trustees member Kent Mueller ’62, from Paradise Valley, AZ, received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Mueller and his wife Judy are largely responsible for the Mueller Leadership Hall and Mueller Student Center.
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.
Below, view photos from the day.