Published May 10, 2015

Commencement weekend

Address by Gen. Allen (left) is one highlight; baccalaureate, Pi Phi groundbreaking, too
  • Gen. John Allen
Monmouth College 158th commencement exercises on May 17 will conclude a busy weekend of activities.
The ceremony, featuring an address by Gen. John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, will begin at noon on the Wallace Hall plaza. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Huff Athletic Center.
Commencement weekend events will begin on May 15 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new $2 million Pi Beta Phi sorority house at 3:30 p.m.
On May 16 at 2 p.m., the traditional baccalaureate service will be held in Dahl Chapel. The service will feature a message from Margaret Aymer, associate professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga.
At 3:30 p.m., members of the Class of 2015 will have the opportunity to participate in an Honor Walk on Wallace Hall Plaza. They will honor a family member, faculty-staff member or friend who has provided inspiration, motivation and support during his or her Monmouth College career. The graduates and their families will convene in Glennie Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. for the Senior Gala and, at 8 p.m., a commencement concert will be presented in Dahl Chapel, featuring the Chorale and the Wind Ensemble.
Allen, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, was appointed to his current position in the U.S. State Department by president Obama in September 2014. His distinguished career has included a rich variety of important commands and senior appointments.
Allen served as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013, and as commanding general, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, leading efforts to secure the Al Anbar Province. He has also held a variety of staff positions, including service as the principal director of Asia/Pacific policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Following his retirement from the Marine Corps, Allen was appointed as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Mideast Security. In that role he led the security dialogue of the Middle East peace process. Later he was named a Distinguished Fellow of Foreign Policy, and co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, a position from which he is on leave while serving as Special Presidential Envoy.
Approximately 250 graduates will participate in the commencement ceremony, which will feature performances by the Monmouth College Wind Ensemble, Pipe Band and Chorale. Student speakers will include Stephanie Lankford of Effingham, who is the college’s Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and Brianna Kamphuis of Garner, N.C., president of the senior class.
The Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, who as college chaplain plans and prepares for the baccalaureate service throughout the year with a committee of senior students, spoke of the importance of the Saturday event.
“Baccalaureate is a worship service of thanksgiving and is designed to send off our graduating seniors. It 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.”
Aymer is the author of “First Pure, Then Peaceable: Frederick Douglass, Darkness and the Epistle of James” (Continuum, 2007) and of the 2010 Horizons Magazine Bible study, “Confessing the Beatitudes” (Presbyterian Women, Inc., 2011). On her sabbatical, she is working on a Sheffield Phoenix Introduction to the epistle of James and hopes to start work on “Sojourners’ Truths: The New Testament as Migrant Writings.” A minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she hails originally from Barbados.
Later on Saturday, the formal Senior Gala dinner will be preceded by an invocation by Patrick McClain of Bolingbrook. After a welcome from Coleman Reed of West Burlington, Jake McLean of Silvis will present the senior reflection. Kelly Swann of Lemont will present President Clarence Wyatt with the class gift. Members of the senior class will be presented with pins by the Alumni Association, welcoming them into the organization.
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