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Why you should attend Baccalaureate this weekend

This weekend, you should add Baccalaureate to your graduation schedule. (Flickr photo/ Md saad andalib)

With graduation quickly approaching, plans and preparation for graduation festivities are well underway.  The schedule for seniors is packed with a full celebration of their accomplishments and completion of their degree from Ohio Northern. On May 7, the annual Baccalaureate Service is to take place in the English Chapel at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend and be a part of this historical celebration. Baccalaureate is a vital tradition that all members of the campus community should attend. 

Within my first year at Ohio Northern, I found my home within Religious Life. I quickly applied for a Religious Life Staff position and became the Community Relations Coordinator. Over the past three years, I have dedicated myself to this position and to have the opportunity to celebrate these three years by performing at this year’s Baccalaureate service is overwhelming. I can’t wait to participate in this celebration and I hope to see most of the graduating class of 2016 alongside me on Saturday. 

The program for Baccalaureate includes musical selections from myself, Jaired Birks and Justin Courtney. During the service, there will be a guest speaker and student speaker. This year, the student speaker will be Johnathan Stechschulte who will be graduating with a B.S. in Biology this Sunday. The guest speaker will be Rev. Dr. Charles D. Yoost who is Pastor Emeritus at Church of the Saviour United Methodist Church in Cleveland Heights, OH. Rev. Dr. Yoost was elected to the Board of Trustees of Ohio Northern University in 1994 and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Student Affairs Committee.

ONU Baccalaureate will not be a traditional service that is held within the English Chapel. During this service, undergraduate students are given one of their last opportunities to participate in a Religious Life service as either an audience member or performer. I would encourage the campus community to carve a couple hours out of their Saturday to participate in this event because it is a part of the graduation experience and means we are all one step closer to receiving our diplomas. 

In my four years at Ohio Northern, this Baccalaureate Service will be bittersweet. Every year, I have watched this event be planned through David MacDonald and I have created advertisements to help promote the event. However, it never sunk in that I would eventually be one of the students to participate in the service.

This year the theme for Baccalaureate is “Plans for a Future with Hope.” The theme is based off of Jeremiah 29:11, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” As seniors leave Ohio Northern, this Bible verse is important to reference because the transition to adulthood can be overwhelming. Between resume building, job interviews and apartment hunting, there are many ways to feel lost after graduation. This verse reminds graduates that there is a plan for them that does not involve harm, but “a future with hope.”

David MacDonald, University Chaplain, talks about why seniors should attend this year’s the Baccalaureate service.

“Baccalaureate is a wonderful part of our commencement weekend traditions here at ONU, and it is a great time for seniors to celebrate their accomplishments in light of our historic Christian background as a university, as well as in celebration of the faith of current students and their families,” says David.

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