16 May UVF’s 83rd Baccalaureate & Commencement
On the sixth day of May, 2022, the University of Valley Forge (UVF) held its 83rd annual Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies and conferred degrees on the class of 2022. Students, family, and friends gathered in the Flower Chapel at 10 a.m. for a time of worship and a baccalaureate message from Dr. David Dippold and seniors Jared Gehman ’22 and Sadie Perez ’22 – the first true baccalaureate service at UVF since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The service was also live-streamed on the university’s website via YouTube and social media for those who were not present. Rev. Jennifer Gale, Vice President of Student Life, greeted those present and opened the service in prayer before a time of worship and the message. In keeping with the tradition of UVF’s baccalaureate services, the three speakers spoke about the legacy of the past, present, and future, and the faithfulness of God throughout.
The 83rd Commencement ceremony began at 3 p.m. in the Flower Chapel due to inclement weather. The service was also live-streamed on the university’s website for those who were not present. Dr. Douglas, vice president of academic affairs, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and introduced alumna Kaitlyn Davi ’13 who led the audience in congregational singing, followed by two hymns and the alma mater sung by the University Concert Choir.
President David S. Kim then introduced commencement speaker, Dr. Beth Grant, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project Rescue, a 25-year ministry working to bring healing to survivors of sexual slavery around the world. Dr. Grant serves as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer on the engagement of the church in justice, women’s issues, and cross-cultural studies in universities in India, Europe, and the United States. An ordained minister, she currently serves the Assemblies of God as the first woman Executive Presbyter. Dr. Grant and her husband David have served as Assemblies of God ministers working in Eurasia and Europe for 44 years. She earned her Ph.D. at Biola University, School of Intercultural Studies in Intercultural Education, co-edited Hands That Heal (2007), an international curriculum to train caregivers of trafficking survivors, and authored Courageous Compassion (2014), a call for followers of Jesus to confront social injustice God’s way.
Dr. Beth Grant congratulated the class of 2022 for their accomplishments and making it through a difficult few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She admonished the graduates to listen well, love well, look well, and receive the Holy Spirit and go out in the power of the Spirit. “After you love well and listen well, people tend to hear you differently… Wherever God calls you, loving well disarms [people] and represents Jesus with integrity.” She also shared some wonderful testimonies about what God was doing in Asia in the red-light districts in which Project Rescue ministers during the pandemic. Amidst the “storm” of the global pandemic, women were being released from sexual slavery and trafficking and able to gain freedom and healing. “Don’t be so distracted by the storm that you miss what [He is] going to do in the storm.” She also encouraged the graduates to be listening to the Lord and his leading. “If God has called you, He will open doors for you, [but] not everyone open door is of God. He will give you open doors, but discern whether or not it is His open door for you.”
After Dr. Grant’s message, Douglas and Kim presented each graduate with their respective graduate or undergraduate degree. These graduates have now joined the mission of thousands of other University of Valley Forge alumni to live a life of service and leadership in the church and in the world.