Gordon Celebrates 131st Commencement

On Saturday, May 13, Gordon College honored the Class of 2023 during its 131st Commencement ceremony. Bachelor’s degrees were conferred on 294 undergraduate students, 149 of whom graduated with honors, and 145 advanced degrees were given to graduate students, including inaugural graduate cohorts for the dual degree from MacKenzie University (Brazil) and classical leadership. 

During the ceremony President Michael Hammond addressed the graduates and guests. “You are a class that has endured much during your college years,” he said. “This has been the most difficult period for higher education in the U.S. since the Civil War. You have persisted through a global pandemic and a time of war and anxiety in our world . . . You have demonstrated character over your college years.  And by the power of Holy Spirit, that character can point to the hope of Jesus Christ for the world as you leave this place and thrive in the days and years ahead.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees Dr. Carrie Tibbles ’93 presented four individuals with honorary degrees in recognition of their exceptional work and service. Dale E. Fowler received a Doctorate of Business and his wife, Sarah Ann Fowler, a Doctorate of Public Service to commend their work as philanthropists and avid supporters of Christian higher education. Pastor Roberto Miranda was posthumously awarded a Doctorate of Divinity in recognition of his legacy of substantial contributions to the Church and to Gordon. His wife, Mercedes “Meche” Lopez-Miranda, received a Doctorate of Divinity for her contributions as a spiritual and community leader.

The 2023 Junior Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Dr. Angie Cornwell, assistant professor of biology. Cornwell is one of Gordon’s most highly regarded and prolific student research collaborators, and she oversees partnerships in biotech for students in the sciences. The Senior Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to Dr. Sharon Ketcham, dean of faculty development and professor of theology and Christian ministries. In the words of Provost Dr. Sandra Doneksi, Ketcham is “an innovative collaborator who leads with a penchant for pastoral care for students, staff and faculty alike.” Collegian of the Year Baraka Kamau ’23 was recognized as the graduating senior who has made the greatest total contribution while attending Gordon. 

During Baccalaureate the evening prior, May 12, graduating students Rebecca Niles ’23 and SungIn Lee ’23 offered reflections. Gordon trustee Samuel Acevedo, J.D., pastor for social transformation at the Congregación León de Judá, delivered the sermon.