By Linda Moll Smith
BIG SANDY, Texas--Ambassador University awarded
172 bachelor's degrees and 105 associate's degrees to students during its
46th commencement exercises, which took place here May 20.
Presiding over the ceremonies was Russell K. Duke,
newly inaugurated as the sixth president of the university, who congratulated the graduates for "making it through
a difficult but rewarding year."
Lester C. Blank Jr., founding dean of the Haggard
School of Theology at Azuza (Calif.) Pacific University, who was introduced
by AU board of regents chairman Joseph Tkach Jr. as a "beloved brother
in Christ," delivered the commencement address. He admonished the 1996
graduating class to "take the high road and dare to be passionate,
committed change agents."
Referring to Mark 8:34-39 as the foundation of
his message, Dr. Blank urged his audience to make use of "four stones"--integrity
of relationships, modeling Christian character, building priorities on service
and resolving not to shame Jesus Christ--to build the high road upon which
they will "travel as Christian examples."
"The future is bright," Dr. Blank said.
"Dare to dream new dreams like Walt Disney did. When he came up with
the idea [for Disney World], his investors said it couldn't be done. Yet
Disney persisted, saying, `If you can dream it, you can do it.' Or, as the
Bible puts it, `Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Brad Marshall of Brisbane, Australia, Ambassador
student-body president, delivered a discourse in which he quoted American
President Calvin Coolidge:
"What we need is not more knowledge, but more
character." He challenged the graduating class to commit to "give
back what we've been given; make a difference; create a vision for the future."