On May 26, the RTS-Orlando community celebrated commencement for our 2018 graduates. It was a wonderful occasion to honor the graduates and their families/friends/supporters who helped them accomplish this step in their preparation for further work in gospel-related ministry.
The graduates and faculty gathered at St. Andrews Chapel to don their robes and takes photos. Our registrar, Lanny Conley, did a great job making sure they all looked sharp in their regalia. Melody Hoover and her team did a marvelous job coordinating the event and stocking the robing rooms with refreshments.
At 6:00pm, with a full sanctuary, our platform party, faculty, and graduates processed to begin the service. Dr. Swain offered his greetings, and Rev. Mike Osborne opened the event with a word of prayer. After congregational singing, Lauren Dyches (MAC ’18) read the graduating class’s statement of gratitude, and Tony Wang (MDiv ’18) read the sermon text (as the students with the highest GPAs).
The graduating class was then addressed by Rev. Chuck Jacob, senior pastor at the Church of the Good Shepherd (and RTS-Orlando alumnus).
Dr. Allen and Dr. Swain then awarded each graduate with their degrees. Jeremy Morrison (MAC ’18) set the record for loudest cheering section!
After commencement ended, we all gathered on the lawn and in the fellowship hall for photos, food, and congratulatory hugs. The weather was uncharacteristically cool and pleasant for a Florida evening in May, and it was a great time of celebration…even if tinged with sadness that this was the last formal gathering of this group.
Senior Banquet…the Night Before
Prior to Friday’s commencement, we held our annual catered senior banquet in the fellowship hall at RTS. During the evening, we offered graduates the opportunity to reflect on their time here and, in particular, to express thanksgiving for those who helped them along the way. Commencement celebrates the graduates, but often there are numerous people — spouses, children, parents, relatives, donors, pastors, friends — who make tremendous sacrifices to enable our students to do what they are called to do here. Thus, the graduation banquet is a time to celebrate them as well.
(Apologies for the poor photo quality of some of these; my cell phone camera does not do well with mood lighting)
Many thanks to everyone involved in these events. A successful end to the academic year!