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Ambassador University graduates 362 Students
in its 45th commencement exercises

By Linda Moll Smith

BIG SANDY--Ambassador University graduated 362 students in its 45th commencement exercises, which took place here May 15.

The four-year liberal-arts and sciences institution, founded in 1947, awarded 246 bachelor's degrees and 116 associate's degrees to purple-gowned graduates representing 22 countries and 43 U.S. states.

Presiding over the ceremonies was University president Donald L. Ward, who welcomed the capacity crowd in Ambassador's field-house auditorium for the first spring commencement exercises conducted since the school attained accredited status from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last summer.

In his invocation Dr. Ward, who is widely believed to be serving his last days as university president and employee of the Worldwide Church of God California, paid tribute to founder Herbert W. Armstrong's "vision" and chairman of the board Joseph W. Tkach's "continuing dedication" to Ambassador. He also gave thanks for Ambassador's role as an institution "espousing true values in education in this great country that offers us the liberty to pursue a way of life and the truth that sets us free from fear and dogma."

President Ward also thanked the graduates of "this our first year as a university" for "going above and beyond in leadership, perseverance and patience."

After the singing of the national anthem, led by AU music professor Gerald Bieritz, Student Body President Ryan Fuessel gave a discourse in which he urged his fellow graduates to "live the commission."

After the Ambassador Chorale, directed by Roger Bryant, sang "The Road Not Taken" and "Old Irish Blessing," in a performance that included about a dozen graduating chorale members, the commencement address was delivered by Dr. Herman L. Hoeh.

Dr. Hoeh, vice chairman of the AU board of regents, replaced scheduled speaker Joseph Tkach, chairman of the AU board, who had undergone emergency surgery several days before graduation and was unable to attend.

Dr. Hoeh, himself a pioneer student in the beginning year of Ambassador in 1947 and one of two of the first Ambassador graduates in 1951, spoke to the AU class of 1995 about "the importance of people in the information age."

Dr. Hoeh urged the graduates to "seek out those who give you guidance and inspiration and then to transmit what you have learned in turn to others you will meet."

After the presentation of awards, degree candidates were presented by Michael Germano, dean of academic affairs. President Ward conferred bachelor's and associate's degrees, and graduates receiving their diplomas on the stage were presented by Jeb Egbert, dean of student affairs.

After the recessional of graduates, an open-air reception in their honor took place on the sunny plaza south of the administration building. Family, friends and faculty members gathered around the splashing swan fountain to offer their congratulations to the newly degreed, the general enthusiasm undampened by the high humidity and temperatures soaring into the '90s.

Participants had light refreshments and nonalcoholic champagne, raising their glasses in the traditional toast to the graduating class.

Commencement speaker Hoeh led the toast by saying, "To all of you in this class of 1995 who have traveled so very far, I wish you the wisdom, good judgment and self-control to see this decade through and into the next century with your contributions."

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