One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Mark D. Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations

The largest graduating class in Cedarville University's 137-year history celebrated its academic accomplishments Saturday during the university's 128th commencement in the Doden Field House. This class of 995 graduates includes 846 undergraduate and 149 graduate students, representing a 4.6% increase from last year’s class. 

Cedarville held two ceremonies to most effectively honor the graduates. The ceremony at 10 a.m. awarded degrees to undergraduate and graduate students in the schools of allied health, education, engineering and computer science, nursing, pharmacy,  psychologyand social work.  The afternoon ceremony at 2 pm presented degrees to graduates in the schools and departments of art, design, and theatre; biblical and theological studiesbusinesscommunicationEnglish, literature and modern languageshistory and governmentinterdisciplinary studiesmusic and worship; and science and mathematics.

During the commencement programs, four students were highlighted for their accomplishments as they were presented with the President's Trophy, given annually to graduating seniors who have excelled in academics, leadership, service, and Christian character.

President's Trophy Recipients

Karoline Pees of Ashville, Ohio, was presented with the President's Trophy award in the morning ceremony.  A graduate in allied health with a bible and psychology minor, Pees graduated with a 4.0 grade point average in her three-year program. Pees has been involved on the women's cross country and track and field teams during her time at Cedarville. She was a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Scholar-Athlete and a Great-Midwest Athletic Conference all-academic team member. She also earned the Alumni Scholarship Award in kinesiology and allied health in 2023. Karoline Pees receives the President's Trophy.

“It has been a great joy to get to know Karoline during her time at Cedarville," said Dr. Elizabeth Sled, associate professor of kinesiology and Karoline's academic advisor. "Karoline has pursued her academic studies with diligence and excellence on a path toward graduate studies in physical therapy. As a student-athlete, she has steadfastly persevered to overcome significant health challenges and injuries, and in doing so, she has demonstrated the character that consistently honors the Lord."

 After graduation, she plans to pursue her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Ohio University.

Garrett Reinhard of Bellefontaine, Ohio, was presented the second President's Trophy during the morning commencement. He majored in science comprehension education, and, like Pees, finished with a 4.0 GPA.

Along with academics, Reinhard was a member of Cedarville's track and field teams in 2021 and 2022, and in his final year he was an NCCAA Indoor All-American in the 60m hurdles. He worked for The Cove as an academic peer counselor for two years and later as a peer tutor. Through this work, he helped international students with biology as a “private” tutor and adapted his tutoring strategy to meet the individual needs of many students, while was also a grader for science and education classes. Reinhard faithfully served in children's ministries at Heritage Fellowship Church in Springfield, Ohio.

Garrett Reinhard receives the President's Trophy.“Garrett is highly competent in a variety of areas, and if he doesn’t know how to do something, he is creative enough to figure it out," said Dr. Kevin Jones, dean of the school of education and social work. "Garrett is also a servant leader who consistently demonstrated a love for his faculty, staff, and peers--and even the children of faculty and staff members. The school of education is better because of Garrett's service and the model he set for others throughout campus.”

After graduation, Garrett and his wife, Mataya--who also graduated on Saturday with a P-5 and social education degree--will move to Bellefontaine to begin his career as a high school chemistry teacher with Bellefontaine City Schools.

Lillian Simpson of Zionsville, Indiana, was presented a President's Trophy award during the afternoon ceremony. Simpson earned a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in biblical care and counseling, and a concurrent undergraduate bachelor's degree in biblical studies--and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. During her time at Cedarville, Simpson served as a discipleship leader for two years and as a member of the discipleship council for one year, while also working part-time on campus.

Lillian Simpson receives President's Trophy."Without a doubt, Lilly has been a model student in our BA/MDiv Accelerated program," said Dr. Billy Marsh, associate professor of theology, and director of the Master of Divinity program. "Throughout her studies, she has demonstrated serious dedication to her theological education with a joyful heart and a bright smile. Her internship supervisors were so struck by the grace and gifts of the Lord in her life they could do nothing but commend her to the highest degree. She has excelled academically and in service to Heritage Fellowship Church where she attended."

After graduation, she plans to be the Children’s Ministry Director at Connection Point Church in Indianapolis.

Isaiah Kelly of Mason, Ohio, is the fourth recipient of the President's Trophy and earned a degree in molecular biology with a pre-med specialization and minors in bible, Spanish and chemistry. He graduated with a 3.799 GPA.

Along with his stellar academics, Kelly was a member of the men’s cross country and track and field teams for five years, He was an NCCAA Scholar-Athlete and named to the G-MAC Academic Team. He was a three-time All-GMAC in Cross Country, an NCCAA Indoor Track Champion in the 5K, and holds three of the top ten outdoor 10K times in CU history. He also participated in a global outreach trip to the Dominican Republic, attended University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, was a member of the campus pre-med org Chi Theta Pi, and worked in admissions as a tour guide. Additionally, Kelly served as a member of our Student Alumni Association, where he engaged alumni through many different events and projects such as homecoming.

Isaiah Kelly Receives President's Trophy.“Isaiah has been a critical part of our track teams," said Jeff Bolender, head track and field coach. "He is a school record holder in the 10k, a team leader, and an encourager. He is an outstanding student and is a tremendously hard worker in academics and running. He is always willing to pitch in and help with anything that needs to be done. He is an excellent example of what a Christian student-athlete should be.”

After graduation, Kelly plans on serving as an EMT during a gap year before enrolling in medical school the following year.

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