Olivet sends Empowered Class of 2019 into their futures during graduation festivities

“Remember that wherever you go, God is sending you.” — University President John C. Bowling

May 17, 2019 Academics

Celebrating the Class of 2019 was top priority at Olivet Nazarene University during the week of May 6. From senior week activities to the Baccalaureate service on Friday evening to the Commencement ceremony on Saturday morning, campus was buzzing with special events and thousands of visitors.


After finals were done, seniors enjoyed some time for relaxing and remembering together — Chicago Day, senior banquet, and Sky Zone — as well lots of photos and reminiscing on campus.


The baccalaureate service on Friday evening was a time set aside for worshiping together as a campus community with family members present. Personal testimonies from graduates Kelsie Davis, a communication studies major, and Caleb Coe, an exercise science major, expressed thoughts and feelings that many in their class shared with them. Special music by the University Orchestra, Orpheus Choir and School of Music faculty plus a message from University President John C. Bowling inspired the graduates.


President Bowling recalled his 2015 speech to the class at the Jumpstart Conference preceding their freshman year when he encouraged them by quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In his charge to the graduating Class of 2019 during the baccalaureate service, President Bowling reaffirmed, “It’s my prayer and my very best wish for you that as you go, you will go with a deep conviction and an abiding confidence that you can do all things through Christ.”


Commencement ceremony on Saturday morning marked the academic achievements of this class with 638 bachelor’s degrees conferred.

Keely Dugan and Timothy Mayotte received the Maggie Sloan Crawford awards for outstanding male and female graduates. Keely majored in psychology, and Timothy majored in biology. Honorary Doctor of Letters recipient was president and CEO of the Foundry Publishing House, Mark D. Brown ’85. Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree recipient was Rev. Brian Wangler ’83.

Joyce (Wine) Burggraf, on behalf of the Class of 1969, charged the graduating class to stand up straight, make eye contact, to share their resources, time, and faith, and to ask and receive with thanksgiving. She offered a final blessing, “May each of you follow God’s guidance and live the abundant life that Christ came to provide.”

During the ceremony, five new U.S. Army Second Lieutenants were commissioned including: Weston Callow (pastoral ministry), Cassandra Ciganek (mathematics), Tyler Davis (criminal justice) John Richardson (pastoral ministry), and Tyler Wilson (criminal justice).


Additional highlights of the 2019 graduation week:
•    Social Work Pinning Ceremony, honoring the 31 Bachelor of Social Work degree graduates. Victoria Hodge received the Spirit of Social Work Award.
•    Nursing Pinning Ceremony, welcoming 59 new nurses into the nursing profession.
•    Teaching Excellence Award to Dr. Roxanne Forgrave ’73/’87/’01 M.A., professor of education Department of Education and the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies
•    Scholarly Excellence Award to Dr. Seok Lew, professor in the Walker School of Engineering
•    School of Graduate and Continuing Studies (SGCS) Commencement ceremony, awarding 153 adult studies bachelor’s degrees, 654 master’s degrees and 14 doctorate degrees. 
•    SGCS Teaching Excellence Award to Dr. Deborah Bruley ‘76/’78 B.S.N., former director of M.S.N. program and adjunct professor of M.S.N. program.
•    SGCS Student Award of Excellence to LuAnne Heun, who received her bachelor of science in nursing degree.
•    Reception honoring the 16 Honors Program graduates.


“Remember that wherever you go, God is sending you. The Lord has a purpose in you being there. Go forth from this campus in the grace, and the love, and the power of Jesus Christ. His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. God bless you.” — University President John C. Bowling 

To learn more about Olivet’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 5/17/19

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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