Graduation Commences, Students Honored

May 11, 2011

Last Thursday evening, Florida College tearfully and joyfully said goodbye to another class of students.

The festivities were traditional. The administration conferred degrees of all students—many of whom graduated with honors.

Valedictorian, Lauren Reeves, and salutatorian, Nicole Mackey, were recognized for outstanding academic achievement. President Payne and Dr. Crispell offered heartfelt speeches for Dean’s and President’s award winners, Cami Churchill and Travis Peterson.

Though graduation follows a traditional pattern, no two years are the same. “Some of us have been here a long time,” admitted President. Payne. “But this ceremony never gets old.”

In light of recent events—cataclysmic natural disasters, recessions, political unrest, and more—the guest speakers focused on the future: both the hope for a better tomorrow, and also the necessity to plan to improve personally in the days ahead.

Author and evangelist Mike Wilson focused on how to be successful after college, boiling it down to working hard, learning from adversity, doing more than what is expected, and putting God first. He assured the students that, no matter what the future holds, these tools will help them make the most of their post Florida College experience.

“When you get to the batter’s box of life…hit it out of the park!” he said.

Senior class president Hannah Greiving focused on the value of the unexpected, as she encouraged her classmates to be good stewards of their future.

“Make plans, but plan to be surprised,” she said. “Part of wisdom is looking ahead. But as you make your map, always keep in mind the road you travel will have any number of detours, potholes, and traffic jams.”

She went on to remind the graduating classes that preparation is good and Godly, but not foolproof—and that a sense of flexibility and faith will serve them well in the coming years.

“God favors the prepared. And part of being a good steward of His time is making wise plans.” He’s given us the freedom to make our own plans, but He’s given the whole world the freedom to occasionally throw plans out of whack.

Finally, sophomore class president David Watson summed up the evening with a simple piece of advice: “keep growing”—and don’t be afraid to step out of that comfort zone.

“Have any of your efforts of growth in the past been comfortable? Or easy?” he asked. “Without [growth], we would not be who we are today, and we will not be who we want to be tomorrow.”

As in year’s past, this promising class of graduates has the potential to do great things—and we believe they will. The Florida College faculty, staff, and administration wish them the very best.