A rare, nearly 60-degree day greeted graduates and their guests at the 10th annual December commencement ceremony held on Saturday, December 15, in Smith Chapel on Simpson’s campus.
The class included three Master of Arts in Criminal Justice graduates, 11 Master of Arts in Teaching graduates, one Bachelor of Music graduate and 80 graduates receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Galen Gist, a biology major from Kansas City, addressed the gathering and talked about what he expected from Simpson and what he actually received.
“I wasn’t the valedictorian of my class. I was just a high school student in search of a college that would provide me with skills needed for acceptance into medical school, that would allow me to continue playing the sport I loved and give me a place I could call my second home,” Gist said.
“For most people, this would be considered a good college experience, he continued. “However, I was given far more than I asked for.”
“Simpson is not a normal college, and you will not leave here with a normal experience. I came in looking to become a better student and am leaving a better person,” Gist said.
Pamela DeVore, a high school science teacher at Clarke Community High School in Osceola, spoke about her journey to receiving her Master of Arts in Teaching degree through Simpson’s Continuing and Graduate program.
“If you would have told me back in 2015 that in 2018 I would be walking across a stage to get my Master’s degree and speaking to fellow graduates, I literally would have laughed you out of the room,” DeVore said.
“What I’ve learned is to ‘never say never.’ I encourage you to ponder what things you’ve said you’d ‘never’ do, and keep an open mind about in what direction God might nudge you,” she continued.
Simpson hosts a December commencement ceremony for mid-year graduates and a Spring commencement for students completing their studies at the end of the academic year.