Victory University Commencement
May 10th, 2012 by admin
Victory University Commencement
First Assembly of God Church
6 p.m. – May 4, 2012
Dr. Shirley Robinson Pippins
Graduates – Class of 2012
Good evening and congratulations. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us rejoice and send the praises up. Let us thank Him for all that He has done to make this day possible.
I know many of you, along with your parents, family and friends, thought this day would never come. There were nights and even mornings when you wondered how you would make it through even another minute. But somehow, like manna from heaven, you were given the strength and wisdom you needed to make it through.
Because of the nature of your journeys, I am equally sure that for most of you today is an answer to many nights and days of prayers.
You are precious to many people in this room – the individuals, the prayer warriors, who supported you along your way; those who served as your alarm clocks and babysitters; those who stood in the gap and prayed for you when you were too tired to say a word. This is not just your day, it is their day also.
Please join me in thanking those whose prayers were heard, individuals who were able to connect with heaven and make today possible.
From the sound and volume of the applause, I know you are very special to many people in this room. But know that you are also very special to me. I have prayed for and with you. I have prayed for this place called Victory and I have prayed for and with your faculty members. You will always hold a very special place in my heart.
You are my first graduating class. You, the members of The class of 2012.
You entered these halls tonight as graduating seniors. You will leave as alums, as products of the Victory experience. Your professors have inspired you, prayed for and with you, ultimately challenging you and shaping you into the fine men and women you are today. Many of you are evidence that miracles still happen. You can proudly look at your colleagues and tell them and others “Don’t tell me miracles don’t happen.”
When I walked down the aisle tonight, on each side of me was a modern day miracle. One, Richard Miller, a Trinity scholar graduating Summa Cum Laude and on the other, Cedrick Hardrick, a man who four years ago was homeless. He is graduating tonight as Winston Howard said, “Thank you Lorde.”
I will proudly say it for you and them, “Don’t tell me miracles don’t happen.” I know from having spoken with some of you that I am looking at 113 miracles, stories of resurrection and overcoming that will shortly walk across this stage.
Some schools pride themselves on the number of students they reject. On opening day they tell students look to your left, look to your right. One of you will not be here next year.
At Victory, we pride ourselves on the number of lives we transform and the number of students who come closer to God, find their mission and leave us prepared spiritually and intellectually to lead and serve in a global society. At orientation we pray with our students and encourage them to support their neighbors so all of them can be victorious.
A graduate of Victory University is indeed a Victorious graduate. A Victorious graduate is prepared for the inevitable challenges of life. A Victorious graduate knows how to fall back upon powerful scriptures in times of trouble. A Victorious graduate knows, that no weapon formed against them shall prosper, that weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning.
A graduate of Victory University knows that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. That whom He foreknew, He also predestined, Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. That same graduate knows that if God is for him who can be against him? And that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
A Victorious graduate can say, as Paul did, For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As a result of all this spiritual knowledge and strength, a Victorious graduate has a hedge of protection that she can pull up – not if, but when, trouble comes. And because of the spiritual and intellectual skills you have acquired here at Victory, we know you will be protected and successful. And yes, we want you to be successful.
The difference with a Victory graduate, is how our graduates will use their success and how they personally, not the world, will measure their success. A graduate of Victory University will measure his or her success by the difference they make in the lives of their family members, their communities and the broader society.
Graduates of Victory University will not hide their history or struggles. They will share their experiences, serving as bridges to success for others from similar backgrounds, letting others who are struggling know that they too can overcome their challenges and lead successful lives of service and leadership. That although they might be homeless now, in a few years they too can walk across the stage and receive a diploma.
Graduates, you will leave here today, yes with great joy and pride in your accomplishments. You will also leave here with a heavy burden. The burden of the skills, abilities and the spiritual gifts you have developed during your time at Victory. It is now your responsibility to use your talents to make a difference wherever you go.
And as you leave today I further encourage you to dream even bigger dreams, to think back on those dreams you dismissed as mere fantasies 2 or 3 years ago when you began your journey to this stage. Your success to date has prepared you for the next steps. The steps you will take AFTER you leave Victory.
Life holds big surprises for the prepared, for the dreamers who plan, pray and stay the course as you have. I never dreamed I’d one day be a college President. My dream was to be a high school math teacher. That dream was altered when I received a D at midterm in my first college math course, and a really caring faculty member encouraged me in my Humanities class. Michael Clifford and Suren Naidoo came along at another turning point in my life, and the rest in many ways is history.
At Victory I am serving in my third college presidency. At each step on my journey from a small steel mill town in Indiana growing up behind my father’s store, next door to a liquor store, my dreams became bigger. God’s plan became clearer.
I could have been a statistic but I stand before you today as a living witness of the power of prayer and modern day miracles. Dreams I would not have dared to dream were realized. I encourage you to keep your hand in God’s hand and to expect the same.
As your president I also have a responsibility to you. I do not take that responsibility lightly. My responsibility and commitment to you is to make you more proud every day of the name of the university that will be on the diploma you receive tonight. Over the course of our year together you have seen the early signs of growth and change. I promise you this is just the beginning.
Look for the name of your university in surprising places as you travel your separate ways. Look for us and pray for us. Make us proud. We will do the same for you.
In closing, I take you back to my beginning: Graduates – Class of 2012. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us rejoice and send the praises up. Let us thank Him for all that He has done to make this day possible.
And as you send up your praises and thanksgiving, open your arms and prepare to receive even more blessings. Because we know when the praises go up, more blessings will come down.
Congratulations! Be blessed bountifully. And continue to expect miracles.
Click here to view the commencement video.