Commencement at Bluefield College

One hundred thirty Bluefield College seniors accepted degrees during the
pomp and circumstance of the school1s 79th Annual Spring Commencement,
Saturday, May 5. During the ceremony, senior student speakers Chris Lawson
and James Lesnett, Jr. challenged their fellow graduates to “change the
world” and to “know [their] purpose in life.”

Bluefield College president, Dr. Dan MacMillan, welcomed the crowd of
more than 600 to the BC Dome. He recognized parents, spouses and other
family members who helped support the graduates in their educational
endeavors. He also thanked the faculty for their efforts in teaching BC
students and congratulated the seniors on their accomplishments.

“You are to be commended for what you have accomplished today,” Dr.
MacMillan said. “Only 24 percent of Americans have earned a degree higher
than a high school diploma. You are among a select group of people in

Lawson and Lesnett, two BC seniors selected by the faculty as
outstanding graduates, offered commencement addresses for the program.
Lawson, a criminal justice major from King, North Carolina, thanked the BC
faculty, “the best college faculty in America,” he said. He also spoke about
the integration of faith and learning at Bluefield College, and he
encouraged his classmates to use both in the world.

“I challenge you (classmates) to leave here with more than just a
degree, but with a desire to change the world for the betterment of the
Kingdom (of God),” said Lawson, a three-time BC student body president.
“Take the education you have received and the faith you have received at
Bluefield College and use them both wisely.”

Lawson, who will be attending graduate school at Wake Forest University
this fall, also spoke about the “undying love” of BC1s faculty.

“From you (the faculty), I learned one of the most important lessons in
life,” Lawson said, “to love one another and to love people for who they are
and not for what they can give you.”

Lesnett, a BC history major from Bluefield, West Virginia, who will be
attending Harvard Law School this fall, spoke to his classmates about the
definition of success.

“After graduation today, all of us want one thing in common — to be
successful,” said Lesnett, president of BC1s Psi Chi National Honor Society
for psychology. “But, what is success? How can you achieve it without
knowing exactly what it is?”

Success, he told his classmates, is not being athletic, good-looking,
wealthy or popular. Success, he said, is “knowing your purpose in life,
developing your unique gifts to their maximum potential, and using your
talents to help others.”

“The journey to success will not be easy,” he added. There will always
be bumps in the road and mountains to climb. But, you will know that you1re
headed in the right direction, if it1s uphill all the way.”

A number of BC graduates were recognized for recent academic awards they
had received, including: Courtnee Woodward of Bluefield, West Virginia, the
Accounting Award; Angela Musselman of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the
Armbrister History Award and the Beazley Academic Achievement Award; Chris
Lawson of King, North Carolina, the Beazley Academic Achievement Award and
the Criminal Justice Award; Jason Vicars of Bluefield, Virginia, the
Biblical Greek Award and the Christian Studies Award; Ashley Asbury of
Bluefield, Virginia, the Biology Award; Alisha Kegley of Bluefield,
Virginia, the Chemistry Award; Carrie Rae Peters of Mathews, Virginia, and
Travis Roberts of Tazewell, Virginia, Communication Awards; Gilbert Kennedy
of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Criminal Justice Award; and Cristina
Allison of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, Brent Clark of Princeton, West Virginia,
and Stephen Sefchick of Woodbridge, Virginia, Exercise and Sport Science
Outstanding Major Awards.

BC’s Masterworks Chorale provided special music for the Commencement
program. Professor Gerald Clay offered a scripture reading, and Dr.
MacMillan, Vice President Bill Carrell and Registrar Cathy Matherly
conferred the 130 degrees.

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