Faculty, staff, trustees, families, friends, and Golden Grad representatives joined the graduates receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
The ceremony opened with greetings from University President Dr. Todd Williams. After continuing in prayer, Scripture reading, and a musical selection by Cairn’s chorale, the procession was led by Golden Grad representatives, and 109 total graduates were awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The ceremony continued with President Dr. Williams fondly introducing the commencement speaker and Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Mr. David Welker ’97. Welker has had an extensive career in law enforcement and the FBI, and since 2012, Mr. Welker has served as the Director of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse of the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Settlement. As Cairn is launching a BA degree in criminal justice in fall 2017, Welker was the perfect candidate to speak on how his education at Cairn impacted his work and his character.
Welker’s message reflected on the lessons he had learned through his experience in the FBI:
“I recall clearly my very first day with the FBI… From A through Z, I was feeling smaller and smaller… There were accountants and lawyers and former marine corps officers… I was not sure I could keep up with this talented group. Looking back on that day, I now realize I was better prepared for life in law enforcement than anyone else in that room because I had attended a university that provided me with a strong Christian foundation and a moral compass.”
Welker also reminded the graduates that each and every one of them had a different path and to be patient with God’s “yeses,” “noes,” and “not nows.”
On Cairn’s new criminal justice major, Welker commented, “I can’t think of a better time in our country’s history for a university with a biblical foundation to offer a criminal justice program. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in a profession that desperately needs godly men and women of conviction and character.”
Welker’s final challenge was to look in a mirror and ask yourself, “‘Am I the person that I should be?’ That’s your character. ‘Am I the person I want others to see?’ That’s your reputation, the outward reflection of your character. And most importantly, ‘Am I the person God wants me to be?’”
Congratulations, Class of 2017!