The words on Brittany Compton's mortarboard sum
up most graduates' feelings at the 2009 spring commencement.
Compton, of Edmonton, Ky., earned a bachelor of arts degree in
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson
College capped off its largest class in college history Saturday
morning at its 89th commencement ceremony, held in Biggers Sports
A total of 161 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred.
Combined with the 325 degrees conferred at the winter commencement,
the Class of 2009 stands at 486 students - the largest in the
college's 106-year history.
To put that number in perspective, a total of 135 degrees were
conferred during the 2002-03 school year. That represents a 260
percent increase in graduates over the last six school years.
In his commencement address, Kentucky State Sen. Vernie McGaha
told members of the Class of 2009 to follow their interests "with
abandon" and "not to squander" their opportunity to make a
difference in the world.
"My challenge to you is not to squander the gifts and talents you
have developed, but to push your talents and abilities to even
greater heights," said McGaha (left), a Republican from Russell
Springs who has represented Kentucky's 15th Senate District since
1996. "By pushing yourself to excel, you'll be joining the ranks of
some of the world's most accomplished people."
Although the Class of 2009 is graduating during one of the worst
economic recessions in the last 60 years, McGaha told the graduates
that persistence is key during challenging times.
"Our world is shaped by those who are persistent in following your
interests," he said. "Even the most successful people hit
roadblocks sometimes. But what sets those people apart or what
makes them successful is a determination to move on despite
Although the world is experiencing tremendous change, McGaha told
the Lindsey Wilson graduates to look for "opportunity."
"Some mistakenly see the uncertainties ahead as a time of crisis,"
he said. "But crisis is always accompanied by a twin called
'opportunity.' They can easily be mistaken for each other, but
don't let them fool you - this is a time in which you open the door
to possibility, a whole world of opportunity."
McGaha also urged the graduates to make a difference in their
communities by serving others.
"The skills each of you possess will make you increasingly
important members of your community, and that will give you new
opportunities to give back to your communities," he said.
McGaha received an honorary doctorate from the college. Also
honored at the ceremony with an honorary doctorate for their
service to the commonwealth were businessman Charles Bennett of
Hardinsburg, Ky., and longtime Lindsey Wilson trustee Pete Mahurin
of Bowling Green, Ky.
Commencement weekend got under way on Friday afternoon with a
pinning ceremony for A.P. White Campus students in the School of
Professional Counseling. That was followed by the annual Senior
Banquet, hosted by the Lindsey Wilson National Alumni Association.
The keynote address was given by Assistant Professor of History
Melinda Senters, voted three-time Teacher of the Year by the LWC
Student Government Association.
At the baccalaureate service on Friday night in Biggers Sports
Center, the Rev. Terry Faris delivered "The Blessing of the