113 students, the largest class in The King’s College’s 15-year New York City history, graduated at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church on May 10, 2014.
This was the first commencement at King’s for President Gregory Alan Thornbury and came just weeks after his formal inauguration. After the College’s Board, President’s Cabinet, Faculty, and students processed into the church, President Thornbury welcomed friends and family to the ceremony, held in New York City.
Pastor Chris Goins of Alabama, father to graduating senior Caley Goins, gave the invocation. Pastor Goins thanked God for blessing our students and called the graduates to lives of purpose and meaning for the Kingdom of God.
Student Body President Peter Flemming, who graduated this year, read from scripture and welcomed Dr. Thornbury back to the stage to introduce the keynote speaker, Dr. George Gilder.
Dr. Gilder is an American investor, writer, economist, and co-founder of the Discovery Institute. Watch his speech here:
Gilder built on famed businessman Peter Drukker’s words, “Don’t solve problems. Pursue opportunities.”
Dr. Gilder explained this quotation, saying, “Today, you enter a world afflicted with all the age-old problems: poverty, violence, crime, hatred, war. You know it.” He said that using the consciousness God gave us to acknowledge the broken world we live in “outlines the tremendous opportunity of all of you to be creative in your lives in the image of your Creator.”
Senior Dagmar Wetherill followed Dr. Gilder with a rendition of “We Shall Behold Him,” accompanied by the College’s piano teacher, Virginia Hart Pike.
Two members of the House of Bonhoeffer and one from the House of Churchill received prestigious awards. Student Body President Peter Flemming was conferred with the Joe T. Ford Award from Professor Leigh Anne Walker for his leadership in the business program and the King’s community. David Leedy, Dean of Students, announced that Samuel Tran would receive the William R. Bright award for embodying Dr. Bright’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision for furthering the Gospel. Lastly, Josh Craddock received the Wilberforce Award for his work at the U.N. and creating conversations in the public square.
The graduating class elected Grant DeArmitt to give the Senior Address. DeArmitt touched on experiences unique to New Yorkers and Kingsians and charged his graduating class with the following:
“In just a little over two hours, we’ll be out of King’s. We’ll be alumni, quietly going about our daily lives. And we’ll be sure of two things. One, that if great times do come upon us and the world needs saving like it did in WWII, then we’ll do what good we can. The truth is, however, that we don’t control the future, like many colleges are probably promising their students they do right now. But the second thing we can be sure of is this; if history never comes for us and we live quiet lives without doing anything society might define as “great,” then we don’t need to be disappointed. Because here, at The King’s College in New York City, we were taught to strive for better than that.”
DeArmitt’s speech was met with rousing applause and a standing ovation.
President Thornbury, Dr. Tubbs, Dr. Pincin, Dr. Harry Bleatter, and Professor Leigh-Anne Walker followed the student speech by presenting all 113 seniors in Media, Culture, and Arts, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and the Business program with their degrees.
Senior Noah Heinz, who will attend Harvard Law School next year, was this year’s valedictorian.
Paul Flemming, Head of Parent’s Association Advisory Council, gave the benediction and called the graduates to let the Gospel fill their lives, “I pray that you each of you will leave here as modern day Nehemiahs, with the favor of the Lord resting upon you, full of passion and vision to create, to build, and to shape the world around you in the goodness of the Gospel.”
Watch the entire Commencement ceremony here:
In the heart of New York City, The King’s College is an accredited, Christian liberal arts college. Through the truths of Christianity and great works in politics, philosophy, and economics, we are educating the next generation of principled leaders for America.