Graduates encouraged to make meaningful connections

Based on Hesston College’s 2014-15 theme verse from John 15:4-5, the class of 2015 was encouraged to find strength and inspiration through a relationship with Christ during a Commencement service May 10.

Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service, delivered the Commencement address “Abide In Me,” encouraging graduates to look past the society’s messages of materialism and self-worth and into deeper connection with Christ, self and others.

“I hope my words can help deliver you through this system and society of shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of your own worthiness, beauty and value,” said King. “As you step forward, receive your diploma and enter into the next chapter of your lives, I pray that you will abide in Christ; remain connected to the source of all life.”

King (Lititz, Pa.) has served with MDS since 2004. He was instrumental in the formation of Hesston College’s Disaster Management Program, started in conjunction with MDS in 2005, and has remained involved in the program’s operation since that time.

Student speakers were Malcolm Mann (Plano, Texas) and Jordan Waidelich (Stryker, Ohio) who were nominated by faculty and staff and chosen by their classmates to deliver the student address.

President Howard Keim conferred 148 degrees for the Class of 2015 – 50 associate of arts degrees, 11 associate of science degrees, 65 associate of applied arts and sciences degrees and 22 associate of general studies degrees.

Individual student groups were recognized in special ceremonies May 8 and 9.

Pastoral Ministries graduate Tom Wedel was commissioned for ministry in a May 8 service. Ron Moyo, Saturday night worship pastor at Whitestone Mennonite Church (Hesston) and a 2012 Pastoral Ministries graduate, presented the message “What the Lord requires of Tom.”

Longtime Mennonite Disaster Service volunteer and member of the bi-national MDS Board of Directors, Paul Unruh (Hesston), a 1958 Hesston Academy and 1960 Hesston College graduate, presented the message “Fear and Anxiety – Friend or Foe” at a recognition ceremony for ten students completing the Disaster Management Program May 9.

A May 9 nursing pinning ceremony recognized 50 nursing graduates. The message “My Greatest Hope for the Nursing Class of 2015” was delivered from the nursing faculty perspective by Joyce Huber (Hesston) and from the graduate perspective by Makayla Ladwig (Wichita, Kan.)

The Aviation department honored eight professional pilot graduates and one air traffic control graduate during a May 9 reception. Troy Jantz (Hesston) a 2001 aviation graduate, brought the message.