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Summer Edition
Volume 97, Number 1


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Messiah College graduated more than 600 seniors at the 96th Commencement ceremony

Called to remake the world
Commencement speaker challenges Class of 2005 to be positive agents of change

Messiah College graduated 632 seniors at the 96th Commencement on May 14, 2005. On a day forecasted to bring thunderstorms, the sun shone brightly, and an occasional wind cooled family members, friends, graduates, and dignitaries in attendance. Speaker Juan Williams, a correspondent for National Public Radio and author of an influential book about the Civil Rights movement, Eyes on the Prize, challenged all graduates to act as agents of positive change in the world.

Williams conveyed a powerful example of how commitment to justice and truth can change the world, rooting his Commencement address in the story of how Martin Luther King Jr. became involved in the Civil Rights movement. "You're about to use your education, your spiritual powers as committed and thoughtful people, to shape the world. Messiah's brought you to the starting line. . . . Messiah has opened the halls of your mind to the possibilities of what you can do with your powers. It has given you the focus, the dedication, and the discipline needed to direct your energy and talent to achievement."

According to tradition, the outstanding achievements of students and faculty were recognized during the ceremony. Graduating senior Jamie Davies earned the Alumni Merit Award for her outstanding accomplishments in political science and public service, which include winning the prestigious national Truman Scholarship, as well as being named a semifinalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. And to honor two educators who prepared many of the graduates for the next phase of their lives, Messiah College again awarded the annual Dr. Robert and Marilyn Smith Outstanding Teacher Awards. Nominated by members of the senior class, this year's recipients were Timothy Van Dyke, assistant professor of engineering, and Linda Parkyn, professor of Spanish, both of whom were honored for their dedication and imagination in the classroom.

Jonathan Vaitl ’06

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