The 2014 Commencement preparations began years ago, when the graduates first arrived at Graceland with hopes that this occasion would be marked in their timeline of accomplishments.
The events began Friday night on Graceland’s Independence campus with the annual Nursing Recognition Ceremony in the Community of Christ Temple Sanctuary. With Graceland’s award-winning nursing program, the nurses’ pinning is a memorable milestone in their careers.
After this traditional event, focus shifted to Lamoni for Baccalaureate, where board president, Ken McClain, gave inspiring remarks on the theme “Serve One Another." Later Saturday evening, the beautiful Alumni Association Candlelighting Ceremony outside on the plaza bricks gave students a moment to reflect upon their best memories during their time at Graceland, and Campus Minister, Matt Frizzell, offered a spirit-filled prayer for the graduates.
Finally, on Sunday morning, the 117th Annual Commencement Convocation began with a ceremonious processional and a welcome from President John Sellars. The graduates, families and friends filled with excitement as each candidate awaited their turn to cross the stage and be given the conferring and recognition they had worked so hard to achieve. Jay Newcom offered an address, charging the graduates to “bring justice, peace and wholeness to the people and institutions of the world.” Vice President Parris Watts conferred the degrees on the waiting graduates. As the alma mater hymn was sung, all raised their voices “in lives of honor, truth and right: The seal of the Blue and Gold.”
Graduates from 38 states and 11 countries earned 500 degrees. There were 313 bachelor's degrees earned, 181 master's degrees, and the very first six Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees earned by Graceland graduates. We congratulate all graduates on their accomplishments and offer our best wishes for success in the future.