it’s too easy to lump Southwestern College alumni into
they tend to be described as a single unit, we forget, sometimes,
that “Builders” is a plural composed of many, many
individuals. Commencement 2004 told that message and underlined
it 430 times.
Miller, who was honored as an outstanding business graduate,
pointed it out. “There’s a story behind each one
of us you see graduating today,” he said.
was Andrew Singh, who spoke at baccalaureate of his childhood
in India. “When I was 10 years old, I would look up at
the sky and ask my mother if I would ever be in a plane going
to another country,” he said. “Today my dream is
fulfilled because my God has been with me.”
And there was 77-year-old Wallace Gray, who
had taught at Southwestern College 40 years but jubilantly
claimed the new graduates as fellow alumni as he received
his honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
were eager to leave Southwestern for the real world; others were
apprehensive about uncertain futures.
Otto summed up a common emotion: “I come before you as
a graduate who does not know what she’s going to do with
the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that. I’ve
been prepared for however God wants to use me.”
only were their backgrounds different, they celebrated their
accomplishments in unique style—one graduate with Hawaiian
heritage was festooned with dozens of congratulatory leis.
By the time the afternoon had finished, more than 300 graduates of the eligible
430 had walked across the stage, and in the process had become part of the
Class of 2004, 430 individual stories.