I thought today I would share something encouraging. Two weeks ago, Christie and I went back to Norfolk to attend our new daughter-in-law’s MBA graduation (yay, Christine!). She has been taking online courses since before she married Jeremy and has just now finished the course of study. We decided to go back to Regent University to help celebrate the milestone and take in the sites of Washington DC in the process.
I really didn’t know what to expect from Regent University, it had not been on my radar before this trip. I’m a loyal Biola alum, you know.
My first impression was that it was a lovely campus, down the street from a Chick Fil-A, so it can’t be all that bad. The campus was well maintained. Large. Stately. As we settled into the ceremony, my first observation was that they called it a “Commissioning,” not a “Commencement.” Commencement was the next day I guess and much larger. Christine opted for the more intimate Commissioning ceremony (another “yay” for her).
The ceremony opened with a clear Christian bent, and that message never let up for the entire time. It was so refreshing. The students were all earning their PhD and master’s degrees from the business department. These were significant degrees, that’s for sure. The main address was from one of their most distinguished alums, the current Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Winsome Earle-Sears. She is the first black woman to hold state office. Ever. That’s a big deal, it seems to me. And her address was amazing. It was thoroughly biblical and expository in nature. Wow. I loved her.
As it came time to call the names of the graduates, I watched something I’ve never seen in such a ceremony (and I’ve been to my fair share of this formal occasions). After the diplomas were presented and the hoods carefully in place, each graduate stepped to the side and was anointed with oil by the godly chairwoman of the department. Then they made their way off the platform where a member of the faculty pulled them aside and prayed for each of them.
It was what it was billed to be: a service of commissioning. The faculty viewed their role as preparing their students to go out into a secular world and be a beacon of light for the gospel. That purpose permeated everything. I was so encouraged.
And then, I was probably most encouraged with such a diverse group of graduates. This was not a class dominated by white males. Far from it. I was in the minority, and I loved it. It seems Regent has opened its doors to raise a culturally diverse student body who will be able to reach into the economic segment of society, with an ethic grounded in biblical truth. Or at least that is the plan.
Of course, about a minute after they cut short the commissioning ceremony, the skies opened, and a downpour followed. It was great. We got soaked. But who cares?
I was encouraged by the goodness of God and the vision to train with highest academic standards a diverse student body with the knowledge of the grace of Christ. There is hope for us after all!