Thursday, May 17, 2012

Commencement: Joy & God's Goodness

After 27 years of working in higher education, I've attended many graduation ceremonies. The commencement exercises we orchestrate here at LeTourneau University are the best I've seen anywhere. I like the balance we achieve in our ceremonies: we celebrate human achievement yet also clearly give God the glory for it all. Thanks to all of you who organized our three recent graduation ceremonies in Longview and Houston.

A graduation ceremony I will always remember happened this past Friday, and I wasn't on the stage or even dressed in mortar board and gown. My daughter Hannah graduated from Kilgore College Friday with her degree in nursing. The proud papa in me must brag that she graduated with honors and was recognized for the highest achievement in pediatrics study. God blessed Hannah with both beauty and brains, and I'm her biggest fan. Marsha and I were very happy that many family and friends came from afar to make the day even more special for Hannah.

College graduations are special events because college degrees are difficult things to earn. It requires sacrifice and patience; money and time. Marsha and I saw Hannah get up early for clinicals and stay up late to study for exams. We saw her fret over poor grades and celebrate good grades. We saw her balance the demands of being a full time student and a single mother. Because we were with her every step of the way, we wanted Friday's graduation to be one of the most special days in her life - a time for her to clearly see God's provision in her life.

I think when we have our next LETU commencement in December, I'll look differently at the proud papas in the audience.  I'll understand their joy and God's goodness just a little better than before.