This May, 235 students graduated from Westminster College, Fulton. Area students included
Hogan Davis, Fortuna; Sarah Koestner, Lohman, Betsy Lehman and Leigh Ann Lutz California.
Commencement speaker for the exercises was Arizona 2014 gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith. Smith is former President of the United States Conference of Mayors and the former Mayor of Mesa, AZ, the third largest city in Arizona and the 38th largest city in America.
Smith advised the graduates to prepare and work toward opportunities to succeed and then have the initiative to seize those opportunities. He reminded them of their responsibility to use their success to make a difference in the quality of life of others.
Westminster President Dr. George B. Forsythe challenged the students to "never forget that the value of a liberal arts education lies not so much in what you know but in how you able to use that knowledge to perceive."
Wallace L. Head, Chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees, also spoke to the class, encouraging them to "never forget this wonderful College and what it has meant to your growth and preparation." He reminded them to give back to the College so others could enjoy the same rich undergraduate experience.
The Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award winners were Leigh Ann Lutz, California, and Abdullah Al-Hadeethi, Baghdad, Iraq.
The Patricia Klein Liebling Parents Association Faculty Award is selected by the graduating seniors. This year's recipient was Assistant Professor of Accounting Elise Bartley.
Prior to commencement, Westminster returned to a College tradition that had existed for more than a century by holding the baccalaureate service in the First Presbyterian Church of Fulton.
Baccalaureate speaker for the day was Rev. Landon Whitsitt the Executive and Stated Clerk of The Synod of Mid-America of the Presbyterian Church. A former Congregational pastor, he completed a two-year term as the Vice-Moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2012.
Rev. Whitsitt is also a theologian, writer, actor, speaker and artist.
His advice to the graduates was to preserve the mind of an adult and the heart of a child and the world would be a much better place.
Following commencement exercises, graduates participated in the historic Columns Ceremony, a Westminster tradition. Just as they are welcomed as freshmen into the Westminster community by walking through The Columns onto campus, graduates say good-bye to Westminster by walking back through The Columns and into the world.