While the Pacific Northwest weather did not deliver sunshine, the bright smiles on the faces of hundreds of new Corban graduates more than made up for the rain. On May 4, all of Corban University celebrated as the class of 2024 took definitive steps across the Psalm Center stage, and their first steps into the bright futures that God has in store for them.

In his first official graduation day as Corban University president, Dr. John Mark Yeats served as the keynote speaker for this year’s class, giving them a charge based on Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. Dr. Yeats encouraged the graduates to go into the world as benchmarks of excellence in all they do. “Every person we see needs to hear the hope and the promise that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “As you go, lead out in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. And in so doing, you will become the benchmark of excellence as you pursue God’s calling on your lives. Our mission as a school lives on through you, graduates. Go make your mark, not in your power, but as Christ works through you.”

In addition to Dr. Yeats’ charge, the ceremonies featured special invocations and prayers given to the new graduates by their Corban faculty, readings of Scripture, performances by the Corban Chamber Choir, a congregational singing of the hymn, “Yet Not I But Christ Through Me,” and an address given by this year’s student speaker and SGA President, Ethan Shepherd.

Prior to the conferral of degrees, the University recognized the Distinguished Graduates for 2024, Dr. Clare Jewell and Amelia Bossard. Jewel, the Distinguished Graduate Student of the Year, was commended for his commitment to discipleship in the Church—the subject of his doctoral thesis. Jewell also serves as the Executive Director of Every Ethne, a ministry committed to reaching every ethnic group in America through church planting and revitalization, as the National Coordinator for Church Planting for the GARBC, and as the Director for ABWE North America West.

Bossard, an intercultural studies graduate with a specialization in linguistics, was recognized by the faculty for her intentionality and commitment to spiritual growth and service. A speaker of Spanish, French, and Arabic, Bossard’s practicum saw her volunteering with the Baraka English program for women at Salem Alliance Church where she interacted with women from Afghanistan, the Congo, Eritrea, Ukraine, Columbia, and other nations, demonstrating an intentional love and caring heart for those living in America as foreigners.

After students crossed the stage as proud Corban graduates, prayers of dedication were offered by Corban faculty, and the class of 2024 was dismissed with a benediction given by Dr. Yeats. “Graduates, it has been a blessing to be a part of your lives,” he said. “We are proud of you and stand ready to support you as you pursue your next adventure. We trust you will see your lives as an opportunity to make a difference for Jesus Christ wherever He leads you.” Tassels turned over, and smiles undimmed by misty skies, the class of 2024 recessed out into the moody Oregon weather to the sound of clocktower bells, “Pomp and Circumstance” (which melded into a surprise playing of the “Imperial March” of Star Wars fame), and the well-earned applause of their gathered friends and family.

“We finally did it,” said business graduate Kylie O’Rourke. “It’s a bit of a sigh of relief that all of our hard work at this stage has come to an end now, and we get to take a moment to enjoy this day, but then also to enjoy real life and the real world where we get to start living for Christ in whatever comes next.”