“How have you been formed by the university experience? Are you, are we, more fit for life?” said Dr. John Holdsworth, Executive Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, to the graduating class of 2019.
Dr. Holdsworth was the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Service of Haigazian University, which took place on Sunday, the 19th of May 2019, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church, next to University campus, in the presence of a capacity audience of graduates, along with their families and friends.
In his keynote address entitled “Fitness for Life”, Dr. Holdsworth focused on the concept of the “usefulness of University education”, namely sharing the ideas of renowned theologian, Cardinal John Henry Newman, in his book titled “The Idea of a University”. Holdsworth put particular emphasis on the notion of “formation”, which helps personalities and characters develop, and eventually serve communities. In this respect, he said, “formation has two elements: connectedness and humanity. Connectedness leads to real evidence of learning maturity by being able to see how different insights from different fields of learning relate to each other and to experience.” Holdsworth also described the concept of “human-ness” in modern ways as “emotional intelligence”, focusing on the notions of self-awareness, self-criticism, the ability to listen, observe, reflect, empathize, respond appropriately to others, and to be able to read situations and people.
President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian addressed the graduates, emphasizing on the notion of “gratitude”.
“Haigazian University was established to create a scholarly community of gratitude, so that our best academic preparation, alongside our community spirit, may lead us to refine the lives of those around us with our professionalism and sincere attitude,” said Haidostian. Dividing the human feelings into two main parts, greed versus gratitude, Haidostian invited the fresh graduates to “go and create communities, families, companies, labs, schools, businesses, or neighborhoods of gratitude wherever you may be, and bring honor to God Almighty, yourself and your alma mater.”
Many graduating students brought their participation in this solemn ceremony of dedication and thanksgiving; Assadour Manjrian offered the Call to worship; Stephanie Arslanian, Nairy Masserlian and Mariana Khajadourian read passages from the Old and New Testament. Sara El Haddad reflected on her University years. Nejteh Bodroumian performed an Armenian song “Kezme I Zad”. Talented musicians, Vahan Saghdejian and Ohanes Ashekyan played instrumental music by Mendelssohn, while Sarkis Yacoubian performed a piece entitled “Palenie”.
Students Karnie Kendirjian and Khajag Barsoumian read the pledge of the graduates which states: “We, the class of 2019 of Haigazian University, in receiving this light, pledge to hold high the light of truth, to defend the light of freedom, and to spread the light of service to our communities, our country and our world. With truth, freedom and service illuminating our hearts, we will challenge each other, and our world, to uphold the worth of each human being, and we will strive for the betterment of society, knowing that this is pleasing to God.”
At this thanksgiving ceremony, Haigazian University Campus Minister, Rev. Wilbert Van Saane offered the prayer of dedication, while the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Megrdich Karagoezian concluded the service by offering his benediction.
Finally, the graduating class of 2019 marched out of the sanctuary, each carrying the light of truth, freedom and service to the world, and paused for the traditional group photo with President Haidostian.
The event concluded with a reception in the Mugar garden.