Graduates Reflect on Mission and Service
Students, family, and friends celebrate during Commencement Ceremony
NEW YORK, May 20, 2011—The King’s College congratulates the 38 young men and women who graduated on Saturday, May 14. In a beautiful ceremony at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, graduates reminisced on their college years, reflected on the College mission, renewed their desire to serve God, and received their diplomas.
As the Valedictorian of his class, Edward Snyder-Ritter reminded his fellow graduates that when they first started at King’s, they joined a college community “that promised to crush us with the very first College Writing assignment…a college that told us that we could and should lead a world hostile to our faith.”
All the preparation, all the difficulty, all the struggling, he said, served to prepare the graduates for a vibrant and successful life beyond college. With this richness, however, comes much responsibility. “For everyone to whom much is given,” he quoted from the Gospel of Luke, “from him, much will be required.”
“We have attempted to ‘know the good’ and now we must do it,” Snyder-Ritter said. “We have come far in knowledge, now we must go further in action. We must make sure that these were not ‘the best years of our lives,’ but the preparation for lives ever richer.” (Click here to read his entire address.)
Selected by a vote of his peers to represent the class, John Hundscheid similarly addressed the graduates and the audience on the value of education. He discussed the distinction of a King’s education.
“We’re trying to participate in the Great Tradition,” he said. “We want to talk about the defining questions. If you think most colleges and universities are interested in that, I suggest taking a stroll through a major university’s course catalog."
The value in participating in this centuries-long conversation, he said, is that it sees an education as an end in itself. The classical conception of such a liberal education was the cultivation of the soul.
“The fruits of a liberal education—prudence and discernment, justice and charity—are abundant,” Hundscheid said. “But to harvest these fruits, you must care for the tree. You cannot merely attend to the fruit. You must nurture the soul.”
The graduates and their gathered family and friends also heard from President Dinesh D’Souza, who spoke to the new alumni as the leaders of the future. He exhorted them to consider what they would do with the rest of their lives by exploring what it means to be followers of Jesus in the world and discerning the ways we can emulate him in the 21st Century.
D’Souza asked the graduates, “How can we be effective Christians in a secular society? How can we as Christians perform in, transform, and affect our culture?”
The answer, he said, is partially revealed in the mission statement of The King’s College. True societal influence requires both a bottom-up and a top-down approach to challenge reigning assumptions and to promote Christian virtues.
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. Through a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building.
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