On May 5, North Central will honor 151 students graduating with undergraduate degrees and four receiving Master’s degrees. The ceremony will beheld at Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, Minn. at 2:30 p.m. Differing from previous years, students walk across the stage with other graduates from their academic colleges.
This will be the first time this process is implemented. In the past, graduates would walk across stage alphabetically according to last name.This spring, the dean of each college will name off the students of the associated college to the stage, where they will be presented their diplomas.
There will not be an individual valedictorian named for this spring’s commencement, according to Loren Latourelle, administrative assistant to the office of academic affairs. Instead, there are four students who will be honored for graduating with a 4.0 grade point average: Anissa Godfrey, Audra Kjetland, Jaclyn Anderson and Sara Leitzke.
During the ceremony, a senior class response will be given by Anthony Elder, a graduating senior math major and student body president.The commencement will feature President Gordon Anderson as the main speaker. The president of the North Central alumni association, Simon Trautmann, will formally deliver an invitation to graduates to become part of the alumni association. At the end of commencement, Ron Bontrager, chair of the board of regents, will briefly introduce President-elect Scott Hagan as North Central’s next university president.
There are also a number of students receiving ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God this year. The Minnesota District Council and Equip Conference will take place April 27-29 at Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, where these credentials will be distributed. Superintendent Clarence St. John will conduct the ordination service April 27 at 7 p.m.
According to the Minnesota District Office, 25 North Central students will be credentialed in Minnesota’s ordination service. Eleven will be ordained after being previously credentialed. These numbers show decline from last year when 37 students were credentialed and seven ordained. In 2015, 27 students were credentialed and seven ordained.This change could be correlated to a decrease in ministry majors and biblical and theological studies majors within the last few years. Currently there are 137 students in a ministry related major. This is an increase from 136 students in the 2015-16 academic year and 132 students in 2014-15.
As a ministry related or biblical and theological studies major, basic requirements for credentialing are included in the coursework at North Central. These standards, set by the Assemblies of God, are related to Pentecostal distinctives, certification, licensing and ordination. Students are not required to be a ministry or biblical and theological studies major to be credentialed, but those in other majors are required to take the extra electives in the coursework of a ministry or biblical and theological studies major.
Doug Graham, vice president of spiritual life, said there are many benefits of being credentialed.
“Many churches require that their ministers be credentialed,” Graham said. “The decision to be credentialed opens the door for students to function as licensed ministers through local church leadership or even the mission field.”
Though Graham has no specific role with the credentialing process, he approves the academic program of these majors at North Central and often serves as a professional reference for students. Graham believes that being credentialed sets students apart from their peers and colleagues.
“[Being credentialed] gives spiritual covering and relational support,” Graham said. “It represents that you’ve been educated, vetted, commissioned, prayed over and so much more.”