Grove City College conferred degrees on 595 graduates Saturday at the College’s 136th Commencement exercises.
College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 told graduates and their families that “the significance of this day is a much greater blessing than we can appreciate.” The Class of 2016 is “fully equipped to faithfully pursue your calling,” he said.
“You leave here with our prayers. Live a life of service to others. Lead with exemplary moral character,” McNulty said.
Dr. Ben Carson, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and former 2016 Republican presidential candidate, provided the well-received keynote address. Carson – a last-minute replacement for William J. Bennett, who had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances – spoke about “The Power of Knowledge.”
Carson related his journey from childhood to the heights of success in the world of medicine. He talked about his mother, who was married at 13, faced poverty and hardship and, though she couldn’t read, made her children read books and write reports that she couldn’t decipher. Carson said he was drawn to stories of people of great accomplishment, like the biblical hero Joseph, who when he was sold into slavery by his brothers decided to be the “best slave there is” and eventually saved a nation – and the brothers who cast him into bondage.
“Success is taking the talent God gave us and using it to elevate our fellow man,” Carson told the graduates.
The College conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Carson and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to Michael Horton, a noted theologian who spoke at the College’s Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 13.
Speaker Emily Rothbard ’16 provided the student address. She likened their college careers to climbing the 63 stairs that connect Grove City College’s upper and lower campus. The climb is arduous at first, but becomes easier as the years go by, she said. The Class of 2016 is now “standing at the start of another staircase, one that will be easier to climb” as a result of everything they’ve gained from the College, Rothbard said.
Rothbard, of Bel Air, Md., graduated Summa Cum Laude with highest honors in Communications Studies and minors in Spanish and Biblical and Religious Studies. She was named Senior Woman of the Year by Omicron Delta Kappa, the College’s leadership honorary society.
The Class of 2016 was the second largest class in Grove City College history, coming in just shy of the 596-member Class of 2010. In recent years, the Grove City College’s four-year graduation rate has climbed to 78 percent, while its six-year graduation rate has reached 85 percent. The average graduation rate in the U.S. is 59 percent.