Monday, May 10, 2010

Commencement 2010: Saturday, May 8, 2010

Graduates getting into their robes for Commencement

Tyler Rathmell and Benjamin Wilcox

The TESL grads with Bonnie Novak (TESL chair)

Dr. Pedrone and Dr. Parker about to walk down the aisle

The grads coming into the gym about to graduate

Dr. Gene M. Williams giving the commencement speech

Dr. Williams reading from John 13

William J. Chatlos the president of the Chatlos Foundation receiving an honorary doctorate

Dr. William J. Chatlos

Grace Fabian (Class 1959) receiving the honorary doctorate

Grace getting her doctorate

Dr. Grace L. Fabian

Ben Baker receiving his Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) Degree

Tyler Rathmell receiving his degree and having the tassel turned by
Chairman of the Board, Jerry Traister (1967).

The graduates singing the Alma Mater

The graduates being congratulated by the Board of Trustees

Darren and Kendra Maslin

Myself (Corey J. Adams) and my best friend William Deckert

Dr. Walter Schlundt and Jerry Traister (Class 1967)

Grace (Jones) Fabian (class 1959) with her sister Mary

Dr. Grace Fabian and Dr. William Chatlos

Grace and her sisters

Craig Hall (manager of the Davis bookstore) with Grace

Myself with Grace

The honorary doctorate

Grace with her honorary doctorate

This past Saturday (May 8, 2010) the 109th graduating class of Davis College received their degrees. Since the first diplomas were issued by Practical Bible Training School in 1901 (the year after the school began) thousands of men and women have entered into the ministry. Some have become pastors, some missionaries, some counselors, some Sunday School teachers, some Youth works, some TESL teachers, and countless others going into secular work with a Biblical worldview. As the saying goes, "The Sun Never sets on PBTS (PBC/Davis)," because the work of the LORD continues on in each class that graduates from the school, and this past Saturday was no different.

The weather forecast for Saturday was bleak with maybe a few minutes of sun here and there. High winds and rains were predicted for the Southern Tier of New York, but God had different plans for this commencement. It was amazing to see God work in the weather that day. I arrived on the campus around 8:10 AM to setup a video camera and make sure everything was all set and there was a light rain coming down. Only minutes after I arrived the light rain started to fade away and the sun started to come out. At around 8:45 AM Grace Fabian arrived on the campus to start setting up a table for her book signing that would follow the graduation. At around 9:15 AM the graduates, faculty, and Board Members assembled in Lowe Hall to adorn their robes and academic regalia. Soon the class of 2010 would be graduating from Davis College.

At about 10:04 AM the bagpipes started playing and commencement began. The American Flag (carried by student Evan Hickernell) and the Christian flag (carried by student Nate Benner) were walked down the aisle behind David Hall who played the bagpipes. Dr. Pedrone, the Board Members, and the member of the faculty followed and convened on the stage. The graduates followed and assembled in the front of the Robb Activity Center. Today was their big day! Do you remember your graduation day? Maybe you had it in the Robb Activity Center or maybe you had it in King Hall, but in either place your day of completion had arrived.

This commencement marks the second year in which we awarded Honorary Doctorates to two deserving individuals. This year the honorary doctorates went to William J. Chatlos, who the president of the Chatlos Foundation in Florida and Grace L. Fabian (PBTS class 1959). Both were overwhelmed with joy and excitement as they were presented with Doctor of Divinity Degree.

William J. Chatlos and his family have been involved with the college since the 1930s when his uncle (William J. Chatlos), and his aunt (Alice E. Chatlos) attended PBTS. In the 1960s the foundation was formed and donated a large sum of money to the college to build the current main building and also the library. Since then the foundation has continued to donate to college to help the college maintain the buildings on campus.

Grace L. Jones was born in Otego, NY and she had Practical Bible Training School in her blood. Both of her parents had attended PBTS in the 1920s. Her father (Clarence Jones) had graduated in 1927. Grace attended PBTS in the Fall of 1956 and graduated in 1959. Upon graduating from PBTS, Grace joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. She first served in Mexico assisting other Bible Translators. She went back to States to continue her training where she met her husband to be, Edmund Fabian. They were married in 1968 and went to Papua New Guinea in the summer of 1969. She and her husband had four children while they worked on translating the New Testament into the language of Nabak. On April 29, 1993 Edmund was murdered while translating 1 Corinthians 13. In the midst of tribulation God's Outrageous Grace shone through. You can read more about her life in her book called Outrageous Grace.

After both honorary doctorates were given the Commencement speaker, Dr. Gene Williams spoke. Dr. Williams is the President Emeritus of Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia and he gave a wonderful message from John 13. More specifically he read from John 13.5-11. The passage is about Jesus washing the disciples' feet and Peter being so offended that Christ would wash his feet. In these verses he made comparisons between the Greek word that is used for wash (in terms of the disciples' feet) and bathed (used in addressing Peter's request in John 13.9). For a person that has been "bathed" in the blood of Jesus Christ only needs to be cleaned from their sins that they committed after being saved (1 John 1.9). In essence you only need to have your feet washed. It is such a basic message, but very relevant for all of us.

After Dr. Williams spoke the diplomas were handed out. It was wonderful to see so many friends being honored by graduating from Davis. These were the Freshman class my Senior year at Davis. It was wonderful to see the smiles and tears as they shock hands with Dr. Pedrone and Jerry Traister. Their time at Davis was coming to a close.

The singing of the Alma Mater occurred soon after the conferring of the degrees. It is always sad hearing them sing the final verse of it:

We must part now, for He calls us
To a wider field;
And though we are loath to leave you,
For His sake, we yield.

After the singing the Alma Mater the prayer of dedication was prayed by board member Rudy Holland and the Seniors headed out of the Robb Activity Center. The LORD blessed the day with sunshine for the time they went outside. As mentioned earlier the day was suppose to be full of rain, but God had other plans. There were many tears and hugs as parents and friends snapped photos and wished God speed. Grace stayed in the Robb Activity Center and signed copies of her book.

It was a wonderful Commencement at Davis.
All glory and honor to God.


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