Commencement is the celebration of new beginnings, a fresh start, a new chapter of life. This year, Regent University's commencement ceremony—held on Saturday, May 7—celebrated 1,153 graduates who have concluded their studies and will begin lives of service in communication, law, business, ministry, government, education, counseling and other fields. The School of Law in particular graduated 123 students.
The outdoor ceremony on the Library Plaza at Regent's campus in Virginia Beach, Va., attracted more than 5,000 family members and friends. This is Regent's largest graduating class to date.
Regent President Carlos Campo welcomed graduates and their guests. He commended them for their hard work and urged them to remember the source of their accomplishments. "We know that God goes with you and this leadership comes not from your own strength but strength from the Lord," he said. "We challenge each of you to continue to walk in His strength and not your own."
Danny Sellers, chairman of Regent's Board of Trustees, also offered congratulations on behalf of the board. Looking out at the crowd, he observed: "I see those who came with a dream and a vision. I see those that answered God's call to come to Regent University not only to receive a world-class education but to fulfill the call of God on their lives."
This year's featured Commencement speaker was Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan T. Cathy. Cathy spoke about the responsibility the graduates have to continue as students of life even as their time at the university comes to an end. Speaking from years of business leadership experience, Cathy knows firsthand the challenges of being a Christian leader. "If we want to be evangelical in our Christian faith, even in the marketplace, then we need to be excellent," he said. "Let's be the students that we need to be. Let's don't stop here. This is the commencement. This is the starting point for what God wants to do, and we can be ministers in the marketplace."
Founder and Chancellor M.G. "Pat" Robertson offered this charge to the graduates. "I want to tell you today—you can if you just turn it over to the Lord. There is nothing impossible with God. And you will need to take out of your vocabulary 'I can't.'"
Referring to the Old Testament story of Moses, called by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, Chancellor Robertson observed that God provided for each of Moses' fears and hesitations, ultimately making him the leader of a nation. "Don't hesitate in your dream. Don't cut your dream short," Robertson told the graduates. "The only way to short circuit your dream is up here in your mind ... When you leave here, say it over and over again: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'"
This year's graduates join more than 15,000 Regent alumni around the world. As they crossed the platform to receive their diplomas, these men and women transformed from students to alumni. Celebrating their accomplishments and looking to the future, Regent University offers its congratulations to the class of 2011.