Gordon College Class of 2017 Commencement

Three hundred and eighty-five undergraduate students and eighty-one graduate students received degrees Saturday morning, May 20, at the Gordon College 125th Commencement ceremony. Graduates hailed from 32 states and 15 countries. Forty-nine students represented local cities and towns across the North Shore region.

The morning scripture reading was taken from II Corinthians 4:7, as D. Michael Lindsay, the eighth president of Gordon College shared, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us.” Lindsay spoke to the sea of graduates, families and members of the Gordon community to emphasize that “God chose to put the good news not in a gilded box but in fragile, ordinary containers, in people like you and me.”

President Lindsay gave the commencement address titled, A Ring in the Cereal Box. Lindsay challenged the Class of 2017 to be “vessels unto honor—set apart—and prepare for every good work.” He urged the graduates to pursue a life of virtue and focus on the eternal reward of a soul that is more deeply aligned with the purposes of God.

Three honorary doctoral degrees were conferred—Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Bob Lappin, a strong advocate for interfaith outreach initiatives and the president of the Lappin Foundation; and Don Stephans, the founder of Mercy Ships.

Junior and Senior Distinguished Faculty Awards, announced each year at Commencement, are selected by the senior class and a panel of previous awardees. This year’s Junior Distinguished Faculty Award was given to Daniel Darko, professor of New Testament. Greg Keller, professor of biology and recent Fulbright Scholar received the Senior Distinguished Faculty Award.

Among the undergraduates receiving bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and bachelor of music degrees was this year’s Collegian of the Year—a longstanding tradition that honors one graduating senior who has made the greatest total contribution to the College—Sohenga Depestre. A resident of Randolph, Depestre (pictured above)  majored in psychology and minored in neuroscience and is the first female Clarendon Scholar to receive the honor.

May 20, 2017 marked the 20th Graduate Degree Commencement at Gordon. Two graduates received master of education degrees; thirty-eight received education specialist degrees; and 11 received master of music education degrees.

This year’s Class Gift donated by the Class of 2017 created The Student Assistance Fund to help offset  unexpected financial challenges that have the potential to threaten students’ ability to remain at Gordon. Through many innovative and energetic initiatives, the Class of 2017 had a record turnout for class giving, exceeding 70% participation.

The ceremony followed Friday evening’s Baccalaureate ceremony held in A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel, during which Don Stephens, founder of Mercy Ships addressed the graduates and their families.