Commencement 2001 was a memorable occasion and much more. The first graduating class of the new century was the largest in the college's history. As one looked around at the 400 proud faces in beautiful academic garb, it was hard not to believe that the hearts of the pioneers, who broke the hard ground in the early days of this institution, would have swelled with pride and thankfulness to see this wonderful day.
The graduation weekend kicked off with a deeply spiritual experience at Consecration. A moving message was brought by Elder J. Alfred Johnson, NAD director of adult ministries, and father of Juleun Johnson, president of the senior class. Dr. Hyveth Williams, senior pastor of the Campus Hill SDA Church in Loma Linda, California, presented a powerfully personal Baccalaureate message drawn from her own experiences. Her ministry to us came with a heavy heart as she left immediately to travel to Jamaica to eulogize her mother.
Dr. Calvin B. Rock, vice president of the General Conference and chair of the OC Board, challenged the students at Commencement. A former president of OC, Dr. Rock is an author and ethicist who understands young people and the challeges they face in a rapidly changing world.
A special guest for the weekend was Dr. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, who received the 2001 President's Award. Dr. Noko is the brother of Kera Gwebu, member of the OC Faculty of Nursing and wife of Dr. Ephraim Gwebu, OC director of research.
The Philanthropy Award was given to the Committee of 100, and Dr. William Hicks received the award on behalf of the members. Rear Admiral Barry Black received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Community Service Award went to William Herring and Kristine Harding of J. A. Partners and Bruce Harris of Harris Design Associates.
Along with the pleasure of handing out more than 400 degrees, Dr. Baker had the privilege of handing one to his son, Benjamin. Our congratulations to all of our 2001 graduates. We are praying for you that the Lord will bless you abundantly.
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