Threatening skies forced the 2017 commencement inside Emery Gymnasium but that did not damper the mood as 123 students graduated from Saint Augustine’s University on May 13.
Some literally danced across the stage as they received their diplomas from President Everett B. Ward. Others strutted, called out to the crowd, flashed fraternity or sorority hand signals or broke out in tears, apparently overwhelmed by the joy of having successfully completed their undergraduate education and beginning the next leg of their journey.
The commencement address was given by Lamell McMorris, founder and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Perennial Strategy Group. McMorris, in a speech that in some parts sounded like a Sunday morning sermon, urged the students to rely on networks of friends, become entrepreneurs, learn technology and – most of all – to have faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen,” McMorris said, quoting the Bible. “You are the substance of things hoped for.”
Honorary doctorates were given to Mable Bowden Wright, retired secretary to two former Saint Augustine’s University presidents; and to Rev. Canon Nelson Wardell Pinder, an Episcopalian minister who has had leadership roles in a number of community, nonprofit and religious organizations.
Remarks were also given by Stephen McLeon, Student Government Association President, and Mylene Cannon, president of the Class of 2017.