Presbyterian College Arts and Sciences graduates and School of Pharmacy graduates received inspiration on the eve of their commencement from three campus leaders during Baccalaureate Services.
The Old Testament lesson was delivered by Dr. Richard Heiser, professor of history. The New Testament was given by Dr. Dean Thompson, the Mary Henry and deSaussure Davis Edmunds Professor of English.
Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and Director of the Cornelson Center for the Exploration of Christian Practice, Dr. Jeri Parris Perkins, delivered the baccalaureate address, comparing the graduates’ future with her own. Dr. Perkins has accepted the senior pastor position at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton and will leave the College next month.
“I find myself standing before you as a senior—grateful and excited that I have a new call…but also dreading tomorrow’s announcement of the close of this academic year which will mark the end of my time here.”
Perkins, a 1981 graduate of the College, told the students that, “Going is not easy either because in these years that seemed just to fly by me, PC has become home for me in an even deeper way than it was before.”
She reminded the students that “Jesus speaks of his parting gift—his graduation gift to us— peace in the midst of change and uncertainty – peace to be who we are and to give all we have. that word – peace means wholeness – being full and ready: all ghosted up and ready from this night forward to love God with all the things we have learned here – with all the ways we have grown here – with all our heart and soul, with all our mind and strength. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit and the peace the spirit brings means you can trust that you are not only called but also equipped and ready to love God and neighbor and yourself – coming and going.”
Perkins concluded her address with two items “borrowed with permission, because there’s no way I could offer any better than these:
“First Remember Dr. Rick Heiser’s constant admonition: Strive for excellence in everything you do. And per Dr. Dean Thompson who has spoken these words to his students every Friday since 1988:
“Do your laundry, call your mama, stay out of sin and debauchery, and be sweet.”