65th Annual Commencement Exercises
After being invited to speak by President Mills, Congressman West congratulated the graduates, and spoke candidly about leadership.
NEW YORK, May 11th, 2013—On Saturday, May 11th, The King’s College held its annual Commencement exercises to honor the graduation of the class of 2013. Students reflected on their four years, received their diplomas, and were accepted into The King’s College Alumni Association. The event was held at Trinity Wall St., located a block from campus. The Honorable Allen West, a well decorated war veteran and former U.S. representative from Florida’s 22nd district, delivered the keynote address.
At the opening of the ceremony, President Andrew Mills encouraged the students to savor the moment, saying “You’ve worked hard, you earned it. So enjoy today.”
After being invited to speak by President Mills, Congressman West congratulated the graduates, and spoke candidly about leadership. He encouraged graduates to lead with integrity. “Be the leader that can cling to courage and duty through an unforgiving minute of hell,” West exhorted, “Be the leader who puts duty above personal gain. Be the leader that never compromises their honor or integrity.”
“Do that,” West said, “and you will have acted worthy of yourselves, your families, and this Institution.”
Such a path will not be easy, West remarked, but better to meet the challenge than to flee. “Embrace challenges. Conquer them. Defeat them,” he said. “Reprimand anyone who wants to shelter you from life’s trials. They may think they’re doing you a great service. Believe me, they aren’t.”
West concluded with a charge to the graduates to “be mindful of the responsibilities you are about to take on – responsibilities to God, yourselves, your family, your country and your fellow man.”
Two graduates of the class of 2013, Rachelle DeJong and Greg Baumann, also addressed the the graduates. DeJong, the valedictorian, encouraged the graduates to seek first the Kingdom of God. “Paradoxically,” DeJong said, “when we give up our earthly aspirations to seek the eternal kingdom, we find that in the end, we have sacrificed nothing.”
She concluded her Valedictorian address saying, “Rather than seek positions and hope to influence them for Christ, we should seek Christ, knowing that eternal glory and earthly influence follow as we become part of a plan much larger than our own.”
Baumann, selected by his peers to speak at commencement, focused his speech on the journey that the students of journey. “We have experienced something unique here. A small Christian college that has challenged, stretched, and strengthened us at every turn,” Baumann said. “Each semester we were taught to seek the good, true, and beautiful. Each semester we were made more ready for the challenges to come in the next.“
“Graduates,” Baumann concluded, “God has a plan for each of us here, but he requires the humility and maturity of us to thank him for our journey thus far and reflect on how we have changed and grown in the process.”
After the appropriate moments of reflection and congratulation, the graduates received their diplomas and a handshake from President Mills.
After the closing benediction, the 72 graduates of the Class of 2013 filed out of the three century old church to meet with family and friends. The traditional cap throwing followed on the steps of Federal Hall on Wall St.