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Dr. White speaking at commencement 2019

Largest Graduating Class Awarded Degrees

by Mark D. Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations

The largest graduating class in Cedarville University’s 132-year history celebrated its academic accomplishments during commencement Saturday, May 4. The university awarded 821 bachelors, master’s and doctoral degrees at the ceremony held in the Doden Field House.

Each graduate has a unique story, but perhaps none more than Gina and Miranda Dyson. The mother (Gina) and daughter (Miranda) from Cedarville, Ohio both walked across the stage to receive their diplomas from Cedarville president Dr. Thomas White.  Gina earned a bachelor’s degree in individualized studies, which combines Christian education and studio art, while Miranda received her bachelor’s degree in studio art.

Gina’s journey toward a bachelor’s degree started decades ago at Cedarville, but was put on hold as she helped raise her family, and move with her husband, Greg, for various jobs. When Greg’s career brought the family back to Cedarville University, she decided to complete her academic degree.

Today was the culmination of hard work for both Gina and Miranda.

During their time together, the Dysons collaborated on a mural at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, and participated in an installation project at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio.

“It has been great being able to experience this time together and enjoy working together,” said Gina.

President's Trophy Recipients 

Commencement also was an opportunity to honor three students with the President’s Trophy, the highest honor given at commencement. The award is presented to a student who excelled in academics, leadership, service, and Christian character.

The recipients were Justin Parker Lough from Schroon Lake, New York, Clara Dawn Costello from Vine Grove, Kentucky, and Jocelyn Renee Quirple from Hagerstown, Maryland.

Justin Parker Lough

Lough majored in international studies and Biblical studies, and was the recipient of the Zondervan Theology award. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in International Relations, studying possibly in Sweden or Scotland.

During his time at Cedarville, Lough served as a Resident Assistant in Brock for two years and was involved in numerous student events and programs.

 “Justin is an outstanding student with a voracious appetite for learning, said Dr. Glen Duerr, associate professor of international studies. “I have personally traveled with him locally, nationally, and internationally. Whether in Dayton, New York, or Israel, I am often convicted by his tireless pursuit to share the gospel with the people.”

Clara Dawn Costello

Costello majored in communication with a specialization in strategic communication, and minors in organizational communication, Bible, women’s ministry, and biblical care and counseling. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

During her time at Cedarville, she was involved in discipleship ministries, class council, women’s ministry leader, Student Government vice president, social media manager for student government, chapel assistant for residence life, and in many facets of the CU Lead conference.

Costello was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mephibosheth Endowment Award (2018); Miriam Maddox Speech Communication Scholarship (2017); Cedarville University’s Dean Scholar (2016-Present); and One Campus Leadership Scholarship (2016-Present).

 “I have worked alongside Clara as a Women's Ministry Class leader and as a professor in the Women's Ministry minor. Through all of these interactions, she has never ceased to impress me with the quality of her work, her passion for seeing other women know the Word of God, and her commitment to serving the Lord with her life,” said Dr. Erin Shaw, assistant professor of women’s ministry. “She truly embodies the verse that says ‘She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue’ from Proverbs 31:26.”

Jocelyn Renee Quirple

Quirple majored in middle childhood education with specializations in social studies and science, and with a minor in Bible. After graduation, she plans to begin her teaching career in Athens, Ohio, where her soon-to-be husband will pursue graduate school.

Quirple was a member of the women’s soccer team for four year, and was captain for two years. She was named to the All-Academic Great-Midwest Athletic Conference team, and received the Team Pillar award her sophomore year. Quirple served in Spain and France with Athletes in Action Women’s Soccer in 2017, and in Costa Rica with the rest of the CU team in 2018.

In addition to athletics, Quirple was a resident assistant in Rooke Townhouse her senior year, and was very active in campus life and Christian ministries.  In 2019, she received the Harold R. Green Christian Ministries Award.

“The quality which most comes to my mind when thinking of Jocelyn is her consistently positive disposition, said Dr. Eddie Baumann, senior professor of education.  “Her genuine desire is to be a devoted follower of Christ and she evidences this in her day-to-day approach to living…Her upbeat attitude is infectious and helps those around her to see the positives even in difficult situations.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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