Each year, Monmouth College honors its Presbyterian heritage by beginning Commencement Weekend with a traditional baccalaureate service. This year’s ceremony will be held on May 19 at 3 p.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium.
“Baccalaureate is a worship service of thanksgiving and sending for our graduating seniors,” explained MC’s chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, who plans and prepares for the service throughout the year with a committee of senior students. “Baccalaureate is specifically Presbyterian in its central focus on scripture and on the proclamation of God’s word with a sermon delivered by a religious leader.”
This year’s baccalaureate speaker will be the Rev. Robert “Cam” McConnell, a 1972 Monmouth graduate. Titled “What Matters Now Is What Lies Ahead,” McConnell’s sermon will be based on Philippians 3: 12-16.
McConnell followed his grandparents and father to Monmouth, majoring in government. He went on to earn his master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Seminary. He served churches in Minnesota and Michigan before taking his current position as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Kan. McConnell has been a member of the college’s board of trustees since 1992.
In addition to McConnell’s sermon, there will be performances by the Monmouth College Chamber Choir and Chorale, and seniors Mary Schuch of Woodstock and Annie Soto of Chicago will provide special music. There will also be a traditional reading of the senior litany led by President Mauri Ditzler.
“Framing this life transition in a context of faith, the baccalaureate service leads our graduates to reflect on their higher purpose, or ‘calling’ in life, and encourages them to meet the needs of the world through service and work that they are passionate about,” said Ott. “It is our hope that the baccalaureate service is a meaningful and inspiring moment for our seniors as they celebrate this significant accomplishment and life transition.”