On a bright and sunny early December day, the cheery weather outside
mirrored the mood inside the Vos Chapel on the campus of Kuyper College.
Kuyper President Patti Harris welcomed attendees of that day’s special service with a smile, saying, “It’s not only our last chapel of the first semester, it’s also time to celebrate our December graduates.”
Though all graduates are invited to participate in Commencement in the spring, taking time to recognize and honor those who finish their studies in the winter is an important Kuyper tradition. This year, there were four such students to celebrate: Abby Brown, Isaac de la Rosa, Lindsay Kalinowski and Emily Scheidel.
“This is a bittersweet time, just as graduation is, because we celebrate you, but we also realize that you won’t be a part of the Kuyper community in quite the same way,” President Harris told the quartet.
Reflecting on Kuyper’s philosophy of education, she also shared some hopes the community has for the departing graduates as they move into this new phase of life.
“We hope you are equipped with the skills needed to show God’s love to God’s people, that you are lifelong learners, that you will be committed to being part of a community and to helping it flourish, and that you will live faithfully for Jesus in God’s good world,” she said.
Following President Harris’ address, it was time to hear words of reflection from the graduates.
Abby Brown was the first to step up to the microphone, saying, “Special is the word I would use to sum up Kuyper College. Only a very unique college can feel like home by the time you leave.”
Next up was Professor Jen Colin, assistant professor of social work and the program’s director, sharing written remarks by Lindsay Kalinowski, who was unable to be present.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the coursework that has prepared me to confidently take on social work roles and led me closer to the Lord and the students I tackled it with. I’m truly excited to move on and pursue my masters, but I’m forever thankful for the journey and experience at Kuyper,” she read.
After Linday’s remarks, Emily Scheidel was next. “I want to say thank you to everybody who helped me at Kuyper. It’s been a really awesome time to learn, grow, and become the better person I am today because of this place,” she said.
Last, but certainly not least, was Isaac de la Rosa, who shared his reflections in both English and Spanish.
“I came to Kuyper wanting to be the next big pastor, to know it all,” he said, to ripples of laughter from the audience. “But now, I’m content with what God has done with me in the past three years here.”
The theme common to each of the addresses was gratitude – for knowledge gained, relationships forged, and providence experienced – something Professor Andrew Zwart echoed in his closing prayer.
“Lord, we thank You for Your faithfulness to these graduates throughout their time at Kuyper. We are grateful for the ways you have shown Your care for this community by channeling Your grace and love through them. Bless each of them as they go out to serve, and bless us all,” he said.