Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday exhorted the members of the Grove City College Class of 2017 to pursue their dreams with “persistence and determination.”
Making his first commencement address as Vice President, Pence cited Grove City College’s history of standing firm to its core values, and told graduates they had earned a degree “minted in an institution of principle and independence, and you can be proud of it your entire life.”
Grove City College awarded 606 bachelor’s degrees in the arts, science, music, electrical and mechanical engineering. The class set a school record that the Vice President noted in his remarks.
“You are the largest graduating class in the history of Grove City College,” he said. “The great class of 2017. It is a joy to be here, to look out across this group of young women and men of accomplishment and great character.”
The Vice President’s message about determination resonated with the crowd of about 5,000 that filled the College’s Quad despite cloudy skies and unseasonably cool temperatures. He earned applause and a standing ovation.
“You leave here with a responsibility of leadership. You are called to lead, fearlessly. Be men and women of integrity with a servant’s heart. Expect opposition, and persevere,” the Vice President said. “Grove City College class of 2017, this is your day. The future is yours. Go out and get it.”
Pence, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the College, broke with tradition and joined College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 to shake the hand of each and every graduate, offering some a pat on the shoulder or quick hug as they moved across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Grove City College also conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on the Rev. Saleem Ghubril, who preached at Friday evening’s Baccalaureate service. Ghubril, a Presbyterian minister, is the executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, a regional economic and workforce development entity.