The 138th Commencement of Presbyterian College heard a reflection of “the dark days of the past year” and a hopeful, uplifting urging for graduates to be “the uniters and healers” in today’s world.
Graduates received their degrees on May 15 from the College of Arts and Sciences under the stately oaks of the West Plaza. The trill of bagpipes sounded, and the ringing of the historic bell was sounded by Sara Rylee White, student body president of the Class of 2021.
In keeping with tradition, parents who are PC alumni came to the podium to help present diplomas to their children who were graduates on this day.
White presented the Outstanding Senior address, titled “What Truly Matters in a Lifetime;” and PC President Dr. Matt vandenBerg presented his Introductions and Reflections. The Reverend Dr. Delpherd Barksdale ’87, senior pastor of Savannah Church of God, presented The Prayer for Graduates.
The Outstanding Senior Speaks to Her Peers
In her speech, White challenged her classmates to think about why PC has become their home and urged them to remember their relationships as they depart the PC campus.
“To my fellow graduates, we can now breathe a sigh of relief,” she said.
“We have managed to graduate despite these unprecedented times. I am inspired by how our class has taken such hardships in stride and continued to make the most of every opportunity that our college home has presented us. I truly believe that our class is a special group and am honored to speak in front of you today.”
“I ask you to consider what it is that has made our time at Presbyterian College home. Is it the beautiful campus? The courses we have excelled in? The sporting events we have participated in? While all of these aspects contribute to the beauty of our home, I firmly believe that it is the relationships we have formed that make PC such a cherished home in each of our hearts. My dad is probably beaming right now because he loves to share what he calls ‘life lessons’ with me. And his favorite life lesson is the importance of relationships. He has instilled in me that the purpose of this life is found in the way we treat those around us and the bonds we share with them.”
“Know thyself,” Professor of the Year says
Dr. Roy Campbell, Professor of History, presented the Professor of the Year Address, “The Mystic Chords of Memory.”
Campbell said a PC liberal arts education is in keeping with what Socrates told his students – “know thyself.”
“The liberal arts, in an almost organic fashion, involve the refinement of the individual; the taking of the raw potential of each student and helping them to achieve their actual,” he said.
“Through knowing yourself, but also through developing a better understanding of others, particularly those who might seem different from you, the liberal arts at PC have hopefully helped you become more tolerant, accepting and compassionate.
“You can be the uniters and healers that our country and world so desperately need. My charge to you is to take your liberal arts education from PC and your compassionate devotion to service, and go out and work in your communities. Reach out to those who think differently than you, who look different than you, who worship differently than you do.”
The College conferred 188 degrees from May 2021, and from August and December 2020. The new Blue Hose graduates were initiated into the Presbyterian College Alumni Association.
The Academic Recessional was “Scotland the Brave – Traditional” presented by the Presbyterian College Alumni Pipes and Drums.