Reminded to value today and every day as a unique gift from God, 60 OBU graduates received their diplomas during OBU's Centennial Winter Commencement on Friday, Dec. 17.
During the ceremony in OBU's John Wesley Raley Chapel, the graduates heard from Dr. Doug Melton, president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Melton serves as pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
"This is the day you have been dreaming about," Melton said. "This is the day you have been working toward. This is the day that you thought would never get here, and now that it's finally here, it's over so fast: Graduation day. This is the day that, for many of you, your parents have been praying for and paying for, for many years. This is the day that your faculty and administration have been coaching you and coaxing you toward for these years."
Melton said that in light of the Scripture read by Dr. Allan Karr -- Colossians 2:6-10 -- he wanted to point the graduating students to another verse of Scripture, Psalm 118:24, which says, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Focusing on the verse in three parts, Melton first considered the phrase, "This is the day." A life-long self-described worrier, he said he does his best to start each day thanking God for the day of life and for eternal life. He urged the students to consider adopting the same practice. He also said it is a great way to end each day, thanking God for the opportunities the day provided to live in honor of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Doug Melton urges OBU graduating seniors to value the gift of each day.
Melton said the second clause of the verse, "the Lord has made," is the key of the entire verse. He said because God makes each day, it has great purpose to it, it has a great plan, and it is full of possibility.
The last part of the verse says, "I will rejoice and be glad in it." Melton said he likes that the verse focuses in on a singular day as well as a singular person. He pointed out that many days of life are considered noteworthy because of the great events they contain, such as graduations and weddings. Many days also bear great challenge. He said each day bears a choice: to rejoice despite the circumstances.
"Graduates, I want you to know that in the days that lie ahead in your life, there will be great triumphs and victories," Melton said. "There will be wonderful times for celebration. But I also want you to understand that in the days that lie ahead, there will be some trials, and there will be loss. There will be some defeats, and there will be suffering.
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"But would you choose this day to know and believe that this is the day the Lord has made? I will rejoice. Regardless of what comes, I will rejoice and be glad in it."
As members of OBU's Centennial Class, each graduate received a gold Centennial medallion prior to the graduation exercises. Dr. David Whitlock, president of OBU, brought a charge to the graduates.
The program also included recognition from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which founded the university in 1910. Dr. Anthony Jordan, BGCO executive director, congratulated the graduates, noting that Oklahoma Baptists have invested millions of dollars in support of the university during its first 100 years.
The graduating class included two seniors, Maddison Marie Nelson and Aubrey Marie Reynolds, who earned the academic predicate "summa cum laude" for maintaining at least a 3.95 grade point average on all work completed for their bachelor's degrees. Those honored received academic hoods during the ceremony.