Approximately 150 students walked across the stage on May 4, 2019, at the John W. Swails Center with 132 earning a bachelor’s degree and another 18 earning their associate degrees.
Co-valedictorians Jack Fitzpatrick and Kylah-Maxwell Brown addressed the graduating class. Fitzpatrick began by sharing how God intervened through a chance meeting with the late Bob Rosene (father of EC Head Basketball Coach, T.J. Rosene), who first told him about Emmanuel.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Fitzpatrick had applied to all of the Ivy League Schools in search of an exceptional institution to attend but found his place at Emmanuel.
“Early on in my first semester, I began to realize that Emmanuel was a special place and that I had ended up at an exceptional institution after all,” he said. “I couldn’t ignore how great the people were at every turn. Being at a small school with people that care about you means that there’s a face for every position and a relationship for every face.”
Jack couldn’t understand what attracted a large group of exceptional individuals to a place he couldn’t find on Google Maps but realized that everyone had a story like his.
“We may have had other plans, but God had bigger and better plans,” he said. “Perhaps Emmanuel’s prestige doesn’t come from million-dollar endowments or single digit acceptance rates. Perhaps Emmanuel’s prestige comes from the type of people that choose to attend. Maybe that’s what we all have in common–God brought us here.”
He finished by stating that the people are what make Emmanuel special.
“Class of 2019, wherever your next destination is, go with confidence and a goal to make that place special, too. It wouldn’t be the first time that God used you to make a seemingly ordinary place, extraordinary.”
Co-Valedictorian, Kylah Maxwell-Brown also spoke on what makes Emmanuel unique.
“We are such a diverse school,” she said. “We attract people from all over the world, and that’s what makes coming here so special.”
She shared that each member of the class of 2019 came to Emmanuel with a goal or expectation of what their four years on campus would hold.
“Some of us achieved the dreams we started with, where others saw them change,” she said. “As we cross this stage, we’re leaving with new dreams. Dreams that are as diverse as we are.”
She finished by reminding her classmates that although the future may seem terrifying, God knows what you can handle.
“We may experience trials, but he will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear,” she said. “We made it to this day, which is already a huge accomplishment that we all should be proud of. I can’t wait to see all that we accomplish in the years to come!”
This year’s commencement speaker was Emmanuel Alumnus, Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr. (’69), who currently serves as the general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Dr. Beacham began by sharing a little bit about the history of Emmanuel College and how far the college has come.
“Through the decades, one thing has remained constant, the commitment of individuals from decade to decade who were convinced that God had and has a purpose for this school,” he said. “Through numerous trials and setbacks, those individuals including people who are with us today have never given up.”
He encouraged the Class of 2019 to do the same.
“It’s important that we remember that the name of this college is a primary reason why we don’t give up,” he said. “Emmanuel means God with us. It is only because God is WITH us that we are here today.”
He finished by reminding the Class of 2019 that throughout their lives they’ll experience great joy, blessings, and opportunities. With these joys, they’ll also experience challenges and loss, but he urged them never to give up and always to remember that God is with us.