Led by Provost Dr. Mark Roberts, the Reinhardt Class of 2019 joined together to sing “Lean on Me,” a song with lyrics fitting for the moment where all the graduates would together celebrate their journey toward earning their degrees.
More than 300 students culminated their time at Reinhardt University Friday morning receiving associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees during the 132nd Commencement Ceremony at Ken White Field at University Stadium.
Angel Cornista ’19, who earned a Bachelor of Sport Studies, delivered the student reflection, urging graduates to take a step back and picture all the dots they have connected along the way.
“Over these last four years while attending Reinhardt, I’ve learned that my college life experience imitated an art project…on a white piece of paper, there are small dots and big dots, and they usually have a small number next to them. By themselves they are just dots, but when you connect them, they create an image. These dots represent the special journey my classmates and I embarked on throughout each year, the highs and lows of being a college student.”
She compared her time at Reinhardt to Georges Seurat’s famous dot painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” saying “you are the canvas of your life.”
Keynote speaker Alicia Ivey ’04 – both alumna and Trustee as well as president/CEO of Goldbergs Concessions and president of Phoenix Drilling Corp.– shared her hard-working journey both during her time at Reinhardt and after. She shared that she had to work harder than most – she worked 10-hour days then came to Reinhardt at night, only to go to class, go home, study and do it all over again the next day.
“Reinhardt saw beyond what I was on paper, Reinhardt saw my possibilities. Reinhardt made it possible for me to take my life to the next level with the commitment of a caring environment, encouragement and discipline.”
Her encouraging words showed students their possibilities are endless if only they persist, learn from their mistakes, put people over possessions and share their success.
“If you remember nothing else from today, engrave this in your being: Success lives in you. I challenge each of you – each and everyone here today – to be successful (because you can); live on purpose (because it is His will); love deeply (because we must); and finally, whenever you have the opportunity and don’t be afraid to make the opportunity, share your success.”
President Kina Mallard charged the graduates in the words of John Wesley to do all they can.
“Keep this in mind, anyone can succeed when things are going well. The true measure of a person lies in how one gets up after being knocked down. That determines your strength of your character,” she said. “The future is waiting. What you do today will affect your tomorrow. Lean not into your own understanding—talk to God. Listen to God. Let Him guide you.”