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Corban University

May 7, 2018

Corban University Welcomes Class of 2018

“My Turn to Teach.”

These are the words one Corban University graduate had written on her cap, and the feelings of excitement and anticipation behind those words were shared by the 248 other graduates participating in Corban’s 2018 Commencement ceremony.

A breezy 74 degrees greeted Corban graduates and their friends and family last Saturday, May 5, as they gathered on the lawn of the Salem Armory. Bouquets of pink lilies and yellow carnations rested on parents’ arms as graduates coaxed bobby pins into shapes that would hold their caps in place. The sun was out, floral prints were in, and cell phones abounded as families attempted to locate one another in the milieu of navy graduation gowns and tassels bobbing in the breeze.

At 2pm, graduates strode down the aisle to the throaty tones of bagpipes, courtesy of the Willamette Valley Pipes and Drums.

Graduates enjoyed an animated address by Commencement speaker Dr. Teri McCarthy, university professor (Lithuania University), author, and speaker. “God made me loud,” she said, and told the story of how God had used her loud voice to share her faith when she moved to China to teach English.

When Teri first encountered the opportunity to move to China, her father had said, “I forbid you to go.” But after spending four hours in prayer, he came back to Teri and said, “I would rather you die at the center of God’s will than live safely outside of it.”

Teri encouraged parents to recognize that God might lead their sons and daughters to distant and even dangerous opportunities, but their true concern shouldn’t be where their children were called; rather, their concern should be whether it was God calling them.

In addition to enjoying McCarthy’s encouraging words, graduates celebrated with two students who received Distinguished Graduate awards. The undergraduate award was given to Micah Leutwyler, who had earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. One of Corban’s McLaran scholars, Micah served on Corban’s ASB team and interned at the Oregon State Capitol. He was described as an “involved citizen” and an “effective communicator.” Micah plans to continue his education at Willamette University’s School of Law.

The graduate-level award was presented to Lilly Ellerton, who had completed her Master of Divinity. She was described as someone with “ridiculous joy and an effervescent spirit,” and plans to continue in her current position with Simonka Place as a program counselor for women, in addition to pursuing her Doctor of Divinity through Corban.

Dr. Rich Meyers was awarded Professor Emeritus status, in recognition for his crucial work in shaping Corban’s now-vibrant undergraduate psychology programs. In addition, during his service at Corban Dr. Meyers had sketched out the beginnings of what is now Corban’s CACREP-accredited Master’s in Counseling.

Finally, Corban’s ASB President Helena Miller addressed the class of 2018. She highlighted the fact that each student’s journey to Commencement had been different, but that their differences were beautiful, and that they had all arrived. Helena said, “We did it—in 249 different ways.”

Now the graduation flowers are beginning to wilt and the caps and gowns have been stored away, but the excitement and anticipation hopefully remain as Corban’s newest alumni begin their next adventures as politicians, ministry leaders, counselors, and accountants, or even step into new educational journeys.

One student says it best, in glue and glitter on her graduation cap: “Off she went to change the world.”