Despite an early 9 a.m. start time to avoid a messy storm of “wintery mix,” the spirit at the second Centennial Commencement of Cairn University was neither dampened nor sleepy. The faculty and administration entered to cheers and applause, one of several irrepressibly joyful moments in a ceremony that embraced both the dignity and joy of celebrating 100 years of God’s faithfulness to Cairn, as well as His faithfulness to the 106 graduates receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The ceremony opened with a commemorative arrangement of the University hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” performed by the Cairn Chorale. After continuing in prayer, Scripture reading, and additional musical selections by Cairn’s Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, 84 undergraduate and 26 graduate degrees were awarded. The ceremony continued with President Dr. Williams fondly introducing the Commencement speaker, Dr. Sherrill Babb. Now University Chancellor, Dr. Babb had served as University President for 28 years, leading the University through a period of critical transition and flourishing growth. Beginning his time as President with the move to the Langhorne campus, he led the institution as it launched 8 new degree programs, achieved University status, and more than doubled enrollment. Now, as Chancellor, he continues to serve Cairn as a representative of and an advocate for the University around the world.
In keeping with the Centennial theme of honoring God’s faithfulness, Dr. Babb’s address focused on the glory of God, both as the reason for the University’s current blessing & as the appropriate “bulls-eye” of students’ lives and careers. Alive with anecdotes and laughter, the speech challenged graduates to reject self-glorification and trust God as the worthy objective of their lives and careers. Among the “great things” and knowledge graduates gain at Cairn University, Babb reminded the audience that, above all, they ought to “take away” a right aim in life. Regardless of other success, apart from this right focus, Babb directs, “A life wrapped up in self makes for a very small package, one that is always filled with a heavy dose of failure and disappointment.”
As is typical for decades of Cairn commencements, the ceremony ended with all present invited to sing the University hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” A favorite memory of both incoming students and our oldest alumni, it was a particularly fitting ending to our continued celebration of God’s faithfulness to the University for the past 100 years.
Listen to Dr. Babb’s full Commencement Address here.