Class of 2019 Celebrates Commencement

Bagpiper Alastair Hutton ’10 led Houghton College’s Class of 2019 in their farewell march around the campus quad on Saturday, May 11, as part of the opening processional for this year’s commencement ceremony.

Commencement March

Alastair Hutton, bagpiper and Houghton alumnus, leading the Class of 2019 around the quad

A Vision for the Future

Peter Greer, president and CEO of Hope International, delivered the keynote commencement address. Greer encouraged the Class of 2019 to “enter into a life of adventurous, other-centered, dangerous love,” reminding them that they are “invited into a bigger and a far better story” than one that is only centered around their own accomplishments.

Houghton College President Shirley Mullen presented the Willard J. Houghton Medal to Dr. Jo Anne Lyon. Lyon is the founder of World Hope International, as well as the ambassador and retired general superintendent for the Wesleyan Church.

Houghton College President Shirley Mullen, addressing the Class of 2019

“[Lyon] brings to whatever she does . . . bold imagination, a kind of holy impatience, and absolute fearlessness,” Mullen said, expressing gratitude for the ways in which Lyon has worked to mobilize the church to address suffering and injustice.

A Vibrant Graduating Class

Graduating senior Raheel Dhingra presented this year’s class gift: a mosaic sculpture in the shape of a strand of DNA. The sculpture, to be installed outdoors near the art building, features tiles hand-painted by members of the Class of 2019. According to Dhingra, each tile is unique, but together they form a beautiful piece of art, symbolizing their shared identity as members of this year’s graduating class.

This year’s valedictorian, Morgan Smith of Upton, WY, graduates with a double major in philosophy and Bible. She will be entering a PhD program at New York University this fall, where she will be studying philosophy of language.

Salutatorian Anne McConnell graduates with a major in inclusive childhood education. She looks forward to returning to her hometown of McLean, NY, and pursuing a career as a special education teacher.

Commencement Group

The Class of 2019, gathered in front of the Luckey Building

This year’s graduating class of 260 students includes 18 students from Houghton College Buffalo, 15 students from Houghton College Utica, and 23 students graduating through Houghton’s online degree programs. Many of them made the journey to Houghton, NY, and walked across the chapel stage on Saturday, joining their main-campus peers in celebrating their well-earned accomplishments.

A Parting Challenge

At the close of the commencement ceremony, Mullen counseled the Class of 2019 to celebrate how far they’ve come. She encouraged them, when the realities and challenges of life set in, to “commit . . . in the face of whatever fears you might feel—to the twin calls of patience and boldness, as you find the next place of challenge and grace that God has prepared for you.”