CHICAGO, IL (MAY 12, 2015) — North Park University culminated the 2014–2015 academic year last weekend by awarding degrees to 502 students, including 320 bachelor’s degrees.
Three commencement ceremonies were held Saturday, May 9, for students from all undergraduate and graduate programs, including North Park Theological Seminary. Combined with the winter commencement held last December, degrees were presented to 756 North Park University graduates this academic year.
During the seminary graduation ceremony, Dean David Kersten presented an honorary doctor of divinity to Debbie Blue, the denomination’s outgoing executive minister of Love Mercy and Do Justice. “Debbie is a prophetic voice,” said Kersten. “We are honored to present this award to someone who’s served with such distinction, joy, and grace among us.”’
The cover story of the May/June Covenant Companion highlights the life and ministry of Blue.
D. Darrell Griffin, pastor of Oakdale Covenant Church in Chicago, delivered the seminary commencement address in which he drew from Genesis 9:18-28. “God was calling on Noah to build a brave new world of justice, love, and peace,” Griffin said.
“God was depending on Noah to do this. But Noah could not see God’s will, because there he was, intoxicated. We’re missing opportunities because some of us are intoxicated. Not with wine, but with wrong attitude, with preoccupation with self, with tradition, with success, with narrowness of vision.”
“Look at the favor that God has had upon your life,” said Griffin. “He has a purpose for our lives. He is getting ready to give somebody in here an assignment beyond their wildest dreams. But God is short on people who are alert enough to carry out the task.”
At its undergraduate commencement, the university presented its David Nyvall Medallion to Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesús, senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. Named for the school’s first president, the medallion is presented for distinguished service to the people of Chicago.
De Jesús, who earned a master of arts in Christian ministry from the seminary in 2006, was appointed senior pastor of New Life Covenant in 2000. Since then the church has grown from a weekly attendance of 120 to 17,000, with more than 135 ministries reaching the most disenfranchised. In 2013, De Jesús was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world and featured in a cover story recognizing his leadership and influence.
More on the ceremonies is published on the university website.
Additional photos also are available online.