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It Keeps Getting Better!

One doesn't often have the opportunity to sit in the front of the auditorium at a graduation ceremony – except for the day of one's own graduation. Needless to say, experiencing the front of the room twice is rare.As an alumnus and current staff member at Ohio Christian University, graduation ceremonies hold a special place in my heart. They are reminders of a milestone in my life and celebrations of the same major achievement for others. Having attended graduation ceremonies for the past 3 years, I must say that each is different and leaves a stamp in a unique way.This year, on another record-breaking day for OCU, the ceremony began with the reading of Philippians 4:6-9. I’m sure many had heard this verse before, but it was a welcome reminder to have faith, focus on the good, and prayerfully thank God in every situation. With the imminent launch of graduates into the world, this scripture set the tone for the remainder of the event.As I sat there soaking it all in, I glanced to my right at the 375 students participating that day. They should be so proud of themselves. They made it. Then I looked at the bleachers. They were full – full of parents and friends there to acknowledge the diligence of these educated minds. They should be so proud. I returned my focus to the platform and seeing the smile on President Smith’s face, I beamed with pride – not for myself but for the entire OCU community. We made it.Just as I finished my thought, former Congresswoman, Michele Bachman, approached the podium. “Peace, joy, happiness, completion…and on top of all that, you’re extremely good-looking” she said. The audience chuckled.“You will achieve your dream of a college degree,” she continued. “You are proving your naysayers wrong because you are a new walking, talking creation.”Her statement immediately reminded me of 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says that anyone that belongs to Christ is a new person. How neat! She was incorporating biblical principles into her message to the graduates. As if she felt right at home, Mrs. Bachman continued to preach the Gospel – unashamedly and emphatically. She reminded the graduates that they were “playing for an audience of one” – God, and His view was the only one that mattered. This led her to also share with them that His only requirements was that they know Him, love Him and serve Him with their whole heart – another reference of Scripture, more specifically Proverbs 3:5-6. Then, she spoke to the entire audience, passionately reminding us that we were not perfect and that our imperfection required a Savior.Without skipping a beat, in conclusion to her speech, she extended an invitation to accept salvation, and from that point on, two graduations were happening – those who were receiving a Bible-based college degree, and those who were now a part of Jesus’ family. It was the perfect mixture of faith and knowledge – the best launchpad to have as one entered a new season of life.Continuing in that atmosphere, graduates shook hands and smiled for the camera as they received their degrees. It was the end of a season and the birth of a new adventure happening all at once. At the end of it all, President Smith issued a challenge, “Don’t fit in with the world; change it.”I don’t think it can get any better than that. However, I know that I’ll be proven wrong because OCU continues to grow! It keeps getting better year after year.Contributed by Tamara Holder, OCU Class of 2012Tamara Holder is a 2012 graduate of the Ohio Christian University School of Business and Government with a major in International Business Management. Tamara hails from the Caribbean island of Barbados and is owner of Baydian, LLC.