GOSHEN — Standing in the hallway dressed in her graduation cap and gown, Yolo Lopez Perez was excited about taking the final step in her college career.
The Concord High School alum, and first in her family to go to college, was among the 233 graduates who received degrees Sunday during the 114th commencement ceremony at Goshen College. She earned a bachelor of science degree in broadcasting and has a job waiting at radio station WFRN.
“I’m glad it’s done,” Lopez Perez said. “I’ll miss it but I know good things are yet to come.”
The afternoon ceremony took place in the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center. Graduates and faculty members had walked in a cool breeze and under partly sunny skies from the Church-Chapel to the center. As they entered the gym, their friends and family looked on silently while the college orchestra played the traditional music of many graduations, Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.”
President James Brenneman greeted them and declared it a “wonderful day.” He told the graduates that their journey together had been filled with a lot of late nights, lots of questions and helpful guidance, and they had shared times of fun and times of sorrow.
“We will miss all of you dearly as we miss our friend James Miller,” Brenneman said in homage to college’s biology professor who was killed at his home in October.
In remembrance of their teacher, the senior class of 2012 will be giving their alma mater a gift to honor him. The Professor James S. Miller Prayer Labyrinth Memorial will be placed beside the Goshen College Labyrinth, a quiet place for prayer and meditation.
Commencement speaker Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward encouraged the graduates to continue deepening their relationship with God. He recounted the two times in his life that strengthened his faith and taught him how to grow in a greater exchange with the heavenly father.
Following the bishop’s address, Brenneman conferred the degrees on the groups of students receiving master of arts, master of science in nursing, bachelor of science and bachelor of arts diplomas. The audience applauded and cheered after each group of recognized.
Then the graduates proceeded to the stage to receive their degrees individually.
Afrah Haile’s mother, brother, sister, uncle and aunt traveled from Milwaukee to watch him get his bachelor’s degree in physical education. Missing was his father, a Goshen College graduate, who had passed away a year ago.
“I would have liked for him to see it but I’m glad it’s finished,” Haile said of the graduation. “I know it’s important to him.”