A Valedictory Address by Clark Nachtigall (BA in Business Administration)
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
Providence Cabinet, President Johnson, faculty and staff, undergraduates, parents, families, friends, and special guests, thank you. Thank you for who you all are, and what you have done for all of us over these last three or four years. We are the graduating class of 2020 here at Providence.
To be honest, I really didn’t think we were going to make it. Soon after many of us arrived at the institution, things began to go awry. Bergen Hall burnt down after our first academic year, mass moves of residence students shifting around campus occurred, and the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic struck that sent our final goodbye of this beloved place out the window. These are some of the things that highlight from our time here. Alumni from before our time have stated that we are the cursed class. And looking back, they might actually be right. But something else that has been made evident is the fact that we are sons and daughters of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Sure, we were met with a whole host of trials and tribulations throughout our time here, however, our Lord kept His promise.
In Isaiah 41:10, the Lord promises, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” He certainly kept His promise. Sure, we are celebrating our graduation this day, in a very dissimilar fashion. However, the Lord our God has protected us and kept us, inspiring us to bring forth His kingdom to the nations outside of these Otterburne walls. So, on this day of celebration, let us all take time to thank Him for the deliverance, guidance and protection we have received. Which none of us have deserved.
Through our time on this 100-acre campus, we have been instructed in many ways, preparing us to go out to the nations, to bring forth the kingdom of God. Our studies in the practice of business have prepared us in ways of communication and management. Philosophical theories have taught us to think for ourselves, not because others say so, but because we are all truth seekers. Psychology has taught us how the human mind works, and the differences between you and I, and how we can all work together for the kingdom of heaven. Whether our learning and growth has taken place in the classroom, the cafeteria, a dorm room or the chapel, the class of 2020 is ready. Ready to take on whatever the next chapter may be for our individual lives.
To the undergraduates, you now have a responsibility. And in many ways, we don’t envy you and the task you have at hand. Living in a special place like Providence, that typically thrives off a close knit community is going to be difficult while keeping six feet apart. However, you now have the responsibility of leading that close knit community through a strange and challenging time. I recommend that you do so, by completely and entirely relying on the God of this universe. In times of struggle, give it all up to Him. But in times of joy, give Him the thanks that He deserves. Without Him, the continuation of the Providence community would cease to exist. Especially amidst our world’s current circumstances.
To the rest of Providence, thank you. Thank you for all the memories, all the struggles and all the joys. Without them, we wouldn’t be the individuals we are today. Thank you for helping us grow, in that very common term we hear around here regularly, in knowledge and character, for leadership and service.
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