CU Celebrates 111th Commencement

by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH

Cedarville, Ohio-Chuck Colson, founder and chair of Prison Fellowship, gave the 699 graduates at Cedarville University's 111th commencement ceremony two words to remember: truth and courage.

Colson told the University's largest graduating class, "The greatest single crisis in our world today ... is that we have abandoned truth." He advised that truth is knowable and absolute, so the graduates should live it out, share it, and do so with courage. He concluded, "Stand firm for Christ in your life. Nothing else will make a difference."

Colson has spent the past 30 years immersed in outreach to current and former prisoners as well as their families and victims. A former aide to President Richard Nixon, he is no stranger to the prison experience, having served time for Watergate-related crimes. Since giving his life to Christ in 1973, he has been a tireless advocate for prison ministry and the Lord.

In recognition of Colson's many years of ministry, the University announced it has established The Charles Colson Ministry Grant. The grant will be available to students whose parents are employed by parachurch ministries.

The Class of 2007 introduced an additional financial aid award during the ceremony. Their class gift to the University is the "Class of 2007-Jonathan Taylor (J.T.) Honorary Scholarship" in honor of senior Jonathan Taylor, who suffered a heart attack in the fall and is now in a minimally conscious state. The seniors and their parents have raised more than $35,000 for this endowed, student-initiated award. The scholarship will be presented to Cedarville student-leaders who exhibit excellence and spiritual maturity in their leadership, service, and academics.

Also during commencement, three graduates were honored with the University's most prestigious student award. The President's Trophy, the highest honor for a graduating senior, recognizes leadership, ministry, community and campus involvement, athletic performance, and academic achievement. The 2007 recipients were Conrad Bear, a music major from Sugarcreek, Ohio; Kristi Beougher, a Christian education and youth ministries major from Louisville, Ky.; and Emily Van Vliet, an electrical engineering and communication arts major from Rochester, Minn.

The Faculty Scholarship Award was presented to four students for maintaining perfect 4.0 grade point averages throughout their college careers. The recipients were Joshua Blackburn, an electrical engineering major from Winfield, Ill.; Andrea Kneezel Costerisan, a nursing major from Decatur, Ill.; April Gilfillen, an early childhood education major from Penfield, N.Y.; and David Lindholm, a chemistry major from Burke, Va.