26 May UVF Confers Degrees on Class of 2018
On April 27, 2018, the University of Valley Forge (UVF) conferred its 79th class, the Class of 2018. Excited graduates, friends, and family gathered in the Flower Chapel at 10 a.m. for the Baccalaureate service. After a time of welcome, worship, and a musical selection from Bethany Hughes ’18, speakers Dr. JoAnn Smith, Abbigail Chiu ’18, and Sarah McAtee ’18 gave this year’s address. Following the Baccalaureate tradition for the University, the speakers addressed the themes of past, present, and future. Framing their messages around Hebrews 13:8, NIV – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” McAtee spoke about the allowing the past to remind graduates of what God brought them through, who brought them through, and why. Smith, chair of the Intercultural Studies department, spoke about how today is the day the Lord has made and how it is for such a time as this that each graduate has come to this moment. Chiu invited her little sister up to the stage to demonstrate that, despite fears about the future, God is in control. She encouraged graduates to release their dreams and plans to God, remain in God’s word and presence, and rely on God’s faithfulness.
The 79th Commencement ceremony of the University of Valley Forge began at 3 p.m. in the Flower Chapel. The service was live-streamed on the university’s website for those who weren’t present, and broadcasted in overflow rooms on campus for friends of graduates and UVF staff members. Dr. Douglas, vice president of academic affairs, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and introduced Sarah McAtee ’18 who led the audience in congregational singing, followed by the UVF Concert Choir who sang a musical selection and the alma mater.
President David S. Kim introduced commencement speaker, Dr. George O. Wood – former general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, USA. Wood also serves as chairman of the World Assemblies of God fellowship as well as the global co-chair for Empowered 21. He holds a doctorate degree in pastoral theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a juris doctorate from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California. He is also the author of a number of books including Fearless, Road Trip Leadership, and Living Fully.
Wood congratulated the class of 2018 on their graduation day, addressed President Kim with appreciation for his leadership of the University, and detailed how God changed his message for the commencement ceremony. “I asked myself, ‘What would Jesus say to you?'” Wood went on to compare the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus’ inaugural address, and expounding on the beatitudes and presenting eight aspirational statements based on those truths. “To Jesus, being is more important than doing…these attitudes that Jesus gives are not “flush” lists – they are systemic to who we are as followers of Jesus.” He encouraged the graduates with a paraphrase of Romans 8:28, that “in every difficult circumstance, God is working for the good.” Wood concluded with “God has a wonderful pattern planned for you, as has been read already – ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.’ Keep fixed on the character principles that Jesus has given us to live by, and you will live well, and you will live in the perfect will of God.”
Afterward, Douglas and Kim presented graduates with their respective graduate or undergraduate degree. These graduates have now joined the mission of thousands of other University of Valley Forge alumni to live a life of service and leadership in the church and in the world.
For more information on the University, visit https://www.valleyforge.edu