SIOUX CENTER—Dordt University’s virtual commencement is set for 11 a.m. Friday, May 8. The ceremony will air via Livestream at livestream.com/dordtwebcast/commencement.
The ceremony impacts 69 graduate students, 286 students earning bachelor degrees and 13 students associate degrees.
One Sioux Center resident on that graduation list is excited to look back someday and remember her Class of 2020.
“It won’t be hard to forget considering it’s the year 2020 and the first Dordt University graduating class,” said 22-year-old Anna Christians of Sioux Center. “It’ll also be a great story to tell.”
She’s quite excited to celebrate graduation despite the circumstances.
“We will get to sit in our living rooms, eat all of our favorite foods with our family, maybe still get dressed up and listen for our name to get called,” she said.
Though she’s watched older siblings graduate from Dordt by walking across the stage, Christians said her family involvement this time around is extraordinary as both her parents who work at Dordt played a role in making this year’s commencement possible.
Her mom, Lisa Christians, is an academic records assistant who helped plan the graduation and her dad, psychology professor Mark Christians, helped read the names of graduates that was pre-filmed for the ceremony.
“That’s pretty special that we are all a part of the ceremony in some way and will get to watch it together on the couch,” Christians said.
The ceremony will feature Justin Bailey, assistant professor of theology at Dordt, as the commencement speaker. His speech is titled “The Wisdom of Weakness: The Coronavirus and the Cross.”
“Our current crisis threatens to swallow the tremendous accomplishment of graduation and to leave us at the end of the journey with a bitter taste in our mouths,” Bailey said. “It is right for us to grieve our losses – both small and great – even as we refuse to be defined by them. And yet, the opportunity to commence the next chapter of life in the midst of the coronavirus may prove to be an unexpected gift.”
The world is in need of people who know the wisdom of weakness and Dordt graduates are invited to answer this call.
“For at the very heart of the Christian faith — and at the very center of our university crest — is a symbol not of strength, but of weakness,” he said. “But what does it mean to place the wisdom of the cross at the center of our lives?”
Having served as a pastor in a number of diverse settings, Bailey works at the intersection of Christian theology, culture and ministry. Bailey’s research seeks to bridge the gap between church and academy, exploring the formational spaces where they overlap.
In addition to Bailey’s speech, the virtual commencement ceremony will feature a special musical performance by Campus Ministries, words of wisdom from Dordt president Erik Hoekstra, a prayer by dean of chapel Aaron Baart and more.