WAYNESBURG – About 550 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students graduated Sunday during Waynesburg University’s 163rd Commencement ceremony in the field house.
D. Raja, co-founder and chairman of Computer Enterprises Inc., delivered the commencement address, asking students “What’s Important in Life?” during which he shared the story of his own beginnings, his evolution into a servant leader and the importance of reputation.
“Reputation is the basis of leadership, no matter the job,” he told the graduates, “and reputation is the reflection of your character. Well, your character is only known to you. But your reputation is the reflection of your character through your words, actions and deeds.”
He also encouraged graduates, assuring them that everyone faces adversity at times, and that success can still be achieved through their reaction to that adversity.
“The older I get, the more convinced I am that success in life is not so much what happens to us, it is how we respond to what happens to us,” he said. “We have the power to choose our response.”
Kayla Diane Bleckley and Jessica Marie Marabello were the named valedictorians. Marabello delivered the valedictory to the university on behalf of the valedictorians. Lance Hyde, a graduate of the Master of Business Administration Program from Cranberry Township, represented the graduate program students.
Two graduates, Charles Lee Cook, a biology major from Cheswick, and Aaron Berkley Palmer, a sports management major from Leesburg, Va., were commissioned second lieutenants in the U.S. Army during the commencement ceremony.
The Rev. Richard Visser, a retired Baptist minister with more than 40 years of service, delivered the baccalaureate address, “Being Salt and Light.” Visser suggested following “four D’s” through which to be effective salt and light in today’s world: Depend on God to guide and sustain you, discover your spiritual gifts, determine where you can best use your spiritual gifts and do what you can.
“In today’s brutal world, that is your calling,” he said. “As salt can enhance and improve the flavor of food, you can improve the ‘flavor’ of people’s relationships and attitudes.”
Raja and Visser were awarded honorary doctor of humane letter degrees during the ceremony.