Haigazian University's 50th Anniversary Baccalaureate Service.
Dr. Iain Torrance: Haigazian University was a creative response to the Armenian Genocide.
"The Orphan's fair which was organized in April by the University''s humanitarian club, illustrates your practical investment in the future. It witnesses to the founding charisms of the University", said Dr. Iain Torrance, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, to the graduating class of 2005.
Dr. Iain Torrance was the guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Service of Haigazian University, which took place on Sunday, the 26th of June 2005, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church in Beirut.
A large number of graduates and their families participated in this ceremony, a service of dedication for the graduating class of 2005 and thanksgiving for fifty years of service of Haigazian University. This was the opening event of a week of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the University.
The graduating class walked through the church sanctuary during the processional hymn. The service began with a call to worship by Rev. Nishan Bakalian, the campus minister, followed with a hymn of praise, "For the Beauty of the Earth." Afterwards, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria & Lebanon, Rev. Dr. Salim Sahyouni offered the prayer of invocation.
In his word, the President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, welcomed the audience, among whom the Arab Team of Christian-Muslim Dialogue, dignitaries of the community, and dozens of guests from overseas. Haidostian summarized his feelings and thoughts, stating that "there is no noble feeling greater than that of a grateful heart, and there is no stronger human power than that of dedication."He added, "There is no proper address for gratitude than that of God Almighty, and there is no relevant dedication than that to serve."
Several graduates took part in the service, Ms. Hera Sagherian, Mr. Elias Ousta Jabbour, Ms. Anni Balabanian, and Ms. Taline Avakian read biblical selections, and. following the choir''s rendering of John Rutte''s "I Will Sing with the Spirit", Ms. Riham Jarjour & Mr. Raffee Parseghian shared their reflections through a multi-media presentation on how Haigazian University affected their lives positively, and helped them change to the better.
This year's litany of thanksgiving had been specially written for the occasion and representatives of all the stakeholders at Haigazian University took part: a Board member, a parent, a faculty member, two students, and a member of the staff.
"Hope in the New World", was the theme of the message of the day, delivered by Dr. Iain Torrance.
Dr. Torrance, as President of Princeton Theological Seminary, noted with excitement that Dr. John Markarian, founding President of Haigazian University, as well as the current president, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian are alumni of Princeton, adding that he was honored to preach on such an occasion and to underscore the ties of friendship between the two institutions.
Dr. Torrance tackled the theme of creative response and healing, stating that the conception of Haigazian University was the creative response to the Armenian Genocide.
Additionally, he remembered the events of February & March of this year, and concluded that "Lebanon now stands at the threshold of a new stage in its history".
A prayer of dedication by the Vice-Chairman of Haigazian University''s Board of Trustees, Rev. Robert Sarkissian followed, after which Mr. Hovig Assilian & Miss Grace Bou Daher read the pledges of the graduates to carry the light of truth, freedom & service to the world: "We, the class of 2005 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".
While the graduates shared the flame among fellow-classmates, the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev, Megrdich Karagoezian pronounced the benediction, whereupon the class of 2005 marched out the sanctuary with the recessional, each carrying the light out into the world.
Highly emotional moments indeed!
No doubt that the Jubilee graduates have been well armed to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Public Relations Director