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For many of the students receiving their degrees at the 2013 Maranatha Commencement, the event represented completion. For some, the journey was slightly longer than they expected.
For the first time, degree completion students were represented as a group in the ceremony. 20 graduates received a Bachelor of Science, Interdisciplinary Studies. Individuals in this program were generally returning to college after a period of time away.
Richard Bergum (above center) had been waiting to complete his degree since 1976, but after coming to know Christ several years ago, he renewed his focus on finishing his degree at a Christian institution.
“For the last four, five, six years, we’ve just been feeling the need to find ways to serve better – and to be more educated to be able to do it,” Richard said.
The Commencement Address from Maranatha President, Dr. Marty Marriott was a reminder to all graduates of their mandate for service as he charged “I exhort you to live to advance the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ in everything you do.”
Long-time pastor and Maranatha alumnus Mark Poorman received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He said of Maranatha “I am so grateful that it stands where it stood when I was in school 30 years ago. It is an institution in our country today that is desperately needed.”
Master of Divinity recipient Geoffrey Stertz received the award for Outstanding Seminary Student in Theology.
Geoffrey is currently serving as an assistant pastor in Millersville, MD at Anchor Baptist Church. He said “he feels more than prepared to be in that ministry,” due in large part to his education at Maranatha.
The President’s Award is the highest Christian character award bestowed during the event. It was given to Andrew Montgomery (right).
After at least two more years in Seminary, Andrew would love to be a pastor, particularly in New England.
This year’s Founder’s Award recipients were Torey DeLozier and Daniel Mulder. These awards are given to male and female students that most effectively exemplify the purpose and spirit of Maranatha. Daniel also won the Outstanding Humanities Student Award.
The student with the highest grade point average, a perfect 4.0, was Laura Harpole. Daniel Mulder had a 3.9976 GPA, which was the second highest average in this year’s class.
Other award winners included Debra Taylor (Outstanding Student in Biblical Languages), Sarah Griffin (Outstanding Science Student), Daniel Chodan
(Department of Business Student Achievement Award), Jared Domsic (John W. Sterling ROTC Leadership Award), Kara Burgess (Outstanding Musician Award), Christina Manion (Best Bedside Nurse Award), and Danae Anderson (Outstanding Future Teacher).
As many of the day’s events and activities were focused on the students’ completion in one phase of life, they were also meant to point them forward.
Dr. Marriott closed his address with a story and the encouragement to “keep moving, keep growing, keep serving, keep moving in your life for the Lord and serving to the praise of His glory.”