Commencement season for any college brings with it sorrow for having to leave the places and friends that become so much a part of a person, and a myriad of hopes and expectations for the future. So it was at Mount Vernon Nazarene College in June of 1970. But, there was so much more.
Of all the milestones passed during MVNC’s short history, this first commencement season ranks as one of the most important. Simply because what our graduates become reflect on what we are: A college worth only as much as the young men and women that it is able to produce.
Commencement activities began on Saturday, June 13, amid a slight drizzle with the ceremonies for the presentation of the Eternal Flame given to the college by its first graduates. “First and Everlasting” has been the motto of MVNC’s 1970 graduates, and it has tremendous meaning for faculty, administration, and students.
Two flag poles were erected beside the Flame. The Christian flag was presented by Rev. Schlosser, and an American flag donated by the local American Legion post.
Following this ceremony was the President’s banquet in honor of the graduates. Highlights of MVNC’s history were moving, but the reflections and emotions of the students so soon to leave MVNC were the most memorable.
A candlelight communion service was also conducted that evening by college chaplain Dr. John Knight.
On Sunday, Dr. Nease delivered a powerful challenge to the graduates. This was a call for unity of spirit, nation, and world —a unity that can only be found in God. The theme for the message was “The Whole Gospel — For the Whole Man — To the Whole World.” In the evening, Dr. Lawrence Hicks, pastor of Ashland, Kentucky First Nazarene Church delivered a compelling evangelistic sermon.
On Monday, June 15, at 2 p.m., the very first commencement exercises of MVNC were underway with the awarding of degrees to 103 men and women. Nearly 1,000 visitors, friends, and families of graduates were on the mall in front of Hyson Campus Center building for the proceedings. Dr. Eugene Stowe, General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, delivered an address asking for the student’s full commitment to evangelize our world with the message of Christ.
Reprinted from The Mount Vernon Nazarene College Communicator, August 1970