ORU Holds Its 2019 Commencement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, May 4, 2019
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Stephanie Hill, Director of University Relations & Communications
Office: 918.495.7337, Mobile: 918.720.5548
Tulsa, OK – Oral Roberts University held its spring commencement at the Mabee Center on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Over 780 students from 44 U.S. states and 44 nations were recognized, receiving degrees ranging from bachelor’s to doctorate.
Before United States Senator James Lankford delivered the commencement address, ORU presented the Senator with the Sanctity of Life award, honoring him for his work to champion the rights of the unborn. ORU believes the Bible clearly teaches that all life, even that in the womb, is worth protecting and honored Senator Lankford for being a staunch advocate for the sanctity of life by introducing significant legislation to protect the innocent unborn in the womb.
After ORU presented the award, Lankford spoke to the graduates, encouraging them to get involved in their world.
"You have been equipped to go take on the complex issues of the day," Lankford said. "You have. It's not someone else. You have. And you get to make a decision: whether you'll look around and say, 'Someone should solve that,' or whether you will be the person to accept the mantle God has put on you and do it."
Lankford also encouraged the students of the Spirit-empowered University to maintain a proper perspective as they enter the workforce.
"You've thought for years, 'What am I going to do?'" Lankford noted. "Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, our first question is not [that] but, 'Who am I going to follow?' A lot of times we get caught up in place and task, and he says a simple thing: 'Come follow me.' That was always his call. He was calling us to himself and then he assigns us the task. Don't get distracted by the task... Jesus is the bigger issue."
Finally, Lankford offered a call to action to the class of 2019, saying, "Graduates, you're well-equipped. Go do what you're called and gifted to do. Do it well, because this world needs well-equipped, godly leaders to step up and lead."
Representing the class of 2019, Titus Schmitt, encouraged his fellow graduates to think about their first moments at ORU and how they knew their lives would never be the same again after their experience at the University. He reminded them that the most important lesson they’ve learned is that their identity is found in Christ.
“I learned it was never about flaunting my ability and flaunting my success and then pointing to God as an afterthought,” Titus said. “But instead taking on the full image and identity of Jesus Christ so that others miles away could see him shining in me before they ever recognized Titus.”
He went on to challenge the students to “take the ORU inside of you, your story, and bring it to the world. Here we’ve had identity, calling, purpose, breathed into us from all angles, so go from here and be authentic, be inspiring. God has a unique narrative on each and every one of your hearts that is begging to be fulfilled.”
Dr. William M. Wilson, President of ORU, ended commencement by commissioning the graduates.
"In just a few minutes you will walk out the doors of the Mabee Center and enter a world that desperately needs you!" Wilson said. "A world searching for healing and hope, a world longing for love and leadership, a world that needs justice and most of all, a world that needs Jesus. Today you are commissioned to go impact that world for Jesus Christ and that is exactly what I believe you are going to do!"
ORU also recognized four faculty members for their years of service to the University and its students. Business Professor David Dyson, Ph.D.; Theology Professor Cheryl Iverson, Ph.D.; Education Professor Timothy Norton, Ed.D.; and Chemistry Professor George Thyvelikakath, Ph.D. were all conferred the title of Faculty Emeritus.