Valley Forge Christian College graduates its 75th class

Valley Forge Christian College's class of 2014 during commencement on May 9. Photo by Barry Taglieber

Valley Forge Christian College celebrated its 75th commencement with 132 graduates on May 9.

The day was both the culmination of the graduates’ academic journey and the College’s final celebration of its 75th anniversary. All throughout the year, Valley Forge Christian College celebrated with events such as homecoming, the grand opening of the Conference Center at Valley Forge and a historic anniversary celebration with guest speaker General John Ashcroft.

To conclude this momentous year, Reverend Philip Bongiorno ‘55 served as the commencement speaker. As President Don Meyer said, commencement is a time to say, “to God be the glory for all He has done.”

The day began with a Baccalaureate service at 10 a.m. in Flower Chapel. The college community, families and friends gathered to celebrate and worship together. The service included senior musical performances, and faculty and senior speakers. The speakers expounded on the theme of perspective: seeing the past, present and future through God’s eyes.

The celebration continued with the commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. on the Green Lane Commons at the College’s campus. Welcome addresses by Dr. Meyer, Dr. Dan Mortensen, executive vice president and vice president of development, and Dr. Kevin Beery, vice president of academic affairs, recognized graduates and their families for their sacrifices and for reaching this high achievement.

Following the concert choir performance, three inductees for honorary membership and eight graduate inductees were welcomed into the Sigma Chi Pi Honor Society of Assemblies of God Colleges and Universities.

Senior Class President Thelonius Sibblies presented Dr. Meyer the senior class gift.

“It is tradition each year that the senior class presents a tree and a plaque to the College to commemorate the students who are moving on,” Sibblies said. The tree will be planted on campus with the other trees from previous classes.

Rev. Philip Bongiorno delivered the 75th commencement address. Rev. Bongiorno served on the Valley Forge Christian College Board of Trustees as vice chairman and chairman for 26 years. He is the superintendent emeritus of the Pennsylvania-Delaware District Council of the Assemblies of God and currently serves as chairman and president of Heritage Investment Services Fund, Inc.

Rev. Bongiorno spoke to the graduates about the next chapter.

“Every end should mark another beginning,” he said. “Every success, the setting of a new goal, and every defeat, an opportunity for a new start.”

He asked three key questions: What will you do with your life? Why will you do it? How will you do it? Rev. Bongiorno said that the answer to these questions shows what one values most, and that no matter what the answer is, one should not live for self but live for God and all humankind. This, as Bongiorno said, is done to please and obey God with discipline, faith and vision.

Dr. Beery and Dr. Meyer presented 13 master’s degrees, 116 bachelor’s degrees and three associate degrees. Graduates received their diplomas one by one on stage, and shook Dr. Meyer’s hand, thereby sealing the accomplishment of their degree and their alumni status.

Concluding the event, Dr. Meyer delivered his traditional farewell to the graduates.

“The wait is over,” he said. “An incredible adventure awaits you.”

In his statement, Dr. Meyer quoted a metaphorical poem about reluctant individuals who were called to the edge, pushed and then flew.

“And now It’s time for you to fly,” he said. Dr. Meyer also encouraged the graduates one last time, quoting Corinthians 15:58 “your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (NIV).

Valley Forge Christian College congratulates the Class of 2014 for this grand achievement.