“Graduation from OBCL was one of the most beautiful and challenging experiences I’ve had. The commissioning ceremony and time of prayer was a very poignant and convicting reminder not just of what I have been called to do, but of everyone who had invested in my life and education to equip me in that calling. It remains a source of great encouragement and exhortation to me to this day.” – Rachael
Commencement marks a unique point in an Oak Brook student’s academic and personal life, not merely the ending of formal study, but the beginning of ministry in his or her chosen profession. It is designed to be a time of celebrating each student’s success and rejoicing in the faithfulness of the Lord throughout the years of study. The small size of each class allows this also to be a uniquely personal celebration as well, with ceremonies tailored to the characteristics, convictions, and stories of each class, resulting in a commencement which remains a treasured memory for alumni.
Graduation exercises begin with a hooding and commissioning ceremony on Friday evening. Graduates are awarded the academic regalia reserved for students completing doctoral level education, and formally “sent out” to begin the mission of “advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ through service as advocates of truth, counselors of reconciliation, and ministers of justice.” Following the ceremony, the faculty, alumni, friends, and family of each student gather around the graduates in individual groups to pray over the graduate’s life and forthcoming ministry, and give thanks for the work that has been done in the student’s life thus far. This time of personal prayer over each student is an integral part of graduation and a tangible representation of the importance that Oak Brook places on investing in each student. It forms the focal point for graduation, reemphasizing the vision of the school and of each student to be dedicated in his or her life and profession to advancing truth, and is a truly unique aspect of Oak Brook’s graduation ceremony.
Commencement exercises take place in a separate ceremony on Saturday where graduates are awarded their degrees, with a formal reception held in the evening to honor the graduates. Throughout the day, faculty, students, and alumni of Oak Brook, along with the friends and family members of the graduates, have the opportunity to fellowship and participate in the events in personal ways, making commencement a meaningful and joyous celebration of all that has been accomplished in each student’s life.
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