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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:05:10 23:17:47

Carleigh Smith of Clarks Summit addressed the audience after receiving her Master of Arts in literature from Clarks Summit University.

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Clarks Summit resident Jenna Hanna, an early childhood/elementary, pre-K-4 major, graduated with highest honors from CSU.

S. ABINGTON TWP. — Clarks Summit University celebrated its 87th commencement on Saturday, May 11 in the Recreation Center on campus. More than 200 graduates were recognized, including 116 with undergraduate degrees, 43 with master’s degrees and 42 with degrees at the master’s or doctoral level from Baptist Bible Seminary.

Ceremony highlights

Matt Colderón, chairman of the Board of Trustees, gave the invocation.

Paul Golden, executive director of alumni and development read from Proverbs 4, which implores a son to remember the wisdom and instruction he has learned.

Dr. Kezia Curry is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Global Kaleidoscope, LLC-Educational Consulting. She performed a vocal solo of her original song “The One.” The congregation joined to sing “The Power of the Cross” and the college hymn “Holding Fast the Faithful Word.”

The Concert Choir performed “Battle of Jericho,” and the men’s choir sang “Rise Up Oh Man of God,” under the direction of Assistant Professor Adam Schwamb, accompanied by Professor David Harris.

Dr. Bill Higley, vice president of academics, presented the candidates for graduation.



This year’s commencement address was given by Roddy Hannah, associate pastor of adult ministries at Cocalico Community Church. Hannah, a former Clarks Summit resident, graduated from CSU in 2007 with a master’s degree in counseling. He was a part of the CSU family for many years, serving in positions from maintenance to vice president of student development.

Student speakers

Members of the graduating class of 2019 also addressed the audience.

Jessica Eddy, of Worthington, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications, reminded fellow graduates, “our lives each tell a unique story. ... For us, CSU is a chapter of that story. My challenge to you is this: go. Go out and experience this beautifully diverse world. Pursue your career. Raise a family. Travel to a foreign land. Do it with passion and conviction. Let each chapter of your story reflect positively on the one who has penned the beginning and the ending.”

Eddy has accepted correspondent positions with both a newspaper and magazine in southern Rhode Island.

Jesse King, of Newburgh, New York, also earned his Bachelor of Arts in communications.

“CSU offered me great leadership among its faculty, and my biblical education is something I can cherish throughout my whole life and in any career path,” he says.

In his address to the audience, he explained, “Four years at CSU taught me about myself, by teaching me about who God is and what Christ has done for me. Each CSU student has been placed here for a specific purpose, ordained by our Heavenly Father.”

King will begin as a patient service representative in Philadelphia following graduation.

Carleigh Smith of Clarks Summit plans to teach secondary English with her newly earned Master of Arts in literature.

“I appreciate that my degree has coupled a challenging academic curriculum with a concern for each student’s personal and professional growth,” she says.

A Master of Divinity graduate from Pittsboro, Indiana, Paul Cummings emphasized God’s gracious and faithful provision.

“It’s evident that it was God who sustained me,” he says. “So as I come to this end, my hope and my faith has grown in the Lord, and I pray this would be a reminder that God was with you the whole way. ... So you can say with me, ‘to God be all the glory.’”

Cummings especially values the hands-on internship experience he completed through seminary.

John Altizer of Peterstown, West Virginia, represented doctoral students of Baptist Bible Seminary. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in systematic theology, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

“This school has changed my life,” he said in his address. “One of the great things about this school is the professors. ... They love academics. ... They love their students. ... They shared their life with us as we got to know them. I’m so thankful for their personal involvement.”