Grove City College celebrated its 138th Commencement on Saturday, May 19, sending 578 new graduates on to bright futures in the world beyond campus with a message about calling and leadership.
College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 congratulated the Class of 2018 on their “great accomplishment” and hoped that they were moving on to the next phase of their lives with “a calling, not mere competency.” It’s the mission of Grove City College to equip students to pursue their unique callings and become leaders of proficiency, purpose and principle.
“The purpose of your education is to open minds, to open hearts, to the treasures of knowledge and wisdom,” McNulty told graduates, their families and friends during the ceremony in the Arena of the Physical Learning Center on campus. The College strives to provide a transformational education, McNulty said, that renews the mind and makes it able to “discern the will of the Lord.” He urged graduates to be self-sacrificing and dedicated to the common good.
The idea of calling was taken up by Commencement speaker Jeffrey N. Williams, an astronaut who has spent more time in space than any other American man. Williams hailed the College’s vision, mission and values and discussed his experiences in space, orbiting Earth in the International Space Station. Looking down at the planet, he said, “provides a unique opportunity to observe and contemplate many things …It’s a wonderful vantage point to sort out your worldview,” he said.
Williams, who said he seeks to live before “our redeemer and creator,” said “calling moves the focus off or ourselves, to serve others and therefore God. Answering the call means living before the Caller.”
Hannah L. Vaccaro ’18, an Entrepreneurship major from Merrimack, N.H., served as student speaker. She urged her classmates to be leaders. “Let’s be the ones who make the first move to reach out to others. We have been prepared to shape the culture as the sons and daughters of Christ,” Vaccaro said.
Williams was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree at Commencement. Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson, a noted Scottish theologian and preacher who spoke at Friday’s Baccalaureate service, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
On Saturday, the College awarded: 149 Bachelor of Arts degrees; 324 Bachelor of Science degrees; 58 Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degrees; 29 Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degrees; and 13 Bachelor of Music degrees. Forty percent of the members of the Class of 2018 graduated with cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude honors.
Grove City College’s 83-percent graduation rate is 24 points higher than the national average. Forty-one percent of alumni graduate debt-free, thanks to the College’s historic commitment to affordability and merit and need based financial aid that the private college provides with no support from the federal government. Based on past years’ results, upwards of 96 percent of the graduating class will have jobs or be in graduate school within six months. The average starting salary for a Grove City College graduate is $50,700, according to PayScale.