Students and faculty filed out of dorms and classrooms as the shofars were blown. The sound signified the gathering of the community for Convocation.
The Psalm Center was filled with more than 900 students and faculty. Dr. Jim Hills, professor of humanities and the senior staff member, carried the mace leading in staff dressed in their academic robes and caps. They were accompanied by the sounds of bagpipes and drums.
President Sheldon Nord opened the ceremony with a short welcome speech and a word of prayer. He explained the purpose of Convocation. “Convocation is to bring together the faculty and students in a formal ceremony,” Nord said. After President Nord spoke, he introduced the Associated Student Body (ASB) President, Cecilee Russell.
Russell addressed the student body and faculty with a challenge. She talked about the fact that humans are creatures of habit. She used the analogy of one walking into a Salt and Straw ice cream shop and expecting ice cream that is familiar and comfortable but getting flavors that are completely out of the ordinary.
Russell challenged the audience to “face something out of the ordinary or walk away.” She pointed out we sometimes let comfort mean success. She closed by challenging students and faculty to not let the routine hinder them from exploring the unknown.
Dr. Marty Trammell, Chairman of Humanities, spoke next on this year’s school theme, “Made New.” Trammell defined the theme in two ways. He described the theme as meaning being made new in Christ as the old man is now gone and we are now new creatures, and as how we as Christians should live now according to Christ’s love.
Trammell explained being made new is more than a onetime situation, it is a continuous process Christians go through by loving God and loving others. “Loving God with all our hearts means finding Him in the most unexpected places,” Trammell said.
Trammell closed his address with a challenge to students to love their neighbor. “Love doesn’t just happen, it has to be made,” Trammell said. He explained love takes time and “college is the perfect place to perfect something that takes time.”
Joey Meador then led students and staff in worship with the song “Be Thou My Vision.” The community joined with one voice, worshiping the Lord together.
Mattias LaVoie, ASB executive vice president, had representatives from the classes lead each class in a pledge written specifically for them. “This pledge, this year, is all a gift for God,” LaVoie said. At the end of each pledge, to signify agreement, each member of the community would say, “Corban,” in unison.
The freshmen class went first, led by Joseph Montana. The freshmen class pledged to recognize the blessing they have been given with a higher education.
Dalton Kobs, a freshman, said, “It was a way to realize we’re not just going to college, we’re not just here to get a degree, we’re here to better ourselves for God’s kingdom.”
The sophomore class, led by Jonathan Bos, pledged to “encourage younger students as they adjust to university life.”
Kylie Gumban, a sophomore, said, “Convocation allows the entire community to come together and hold each other accountable to the year’s theme and Corban’s mission. It helps everyone feel united.”
The junior class, led by Gabriella Kupfer, pledged to know the responsibilities of an upperclassmen and to help their younger brothers and sisters in Christ pursue righteousness.
“At Corban we eagerly celebrate with parties and joyful events, rightfully so,” Kupfer said. “Convocation is the balance, it is a call to remember the responsibility and comradery that comes with being a part of this university. It’s a ceremony to bring us back to Christ and to center us as a community before we start the year.”
The senior class, led by Ransom Storm, pledged to be examples to those around them and to finish the work they began three years ago and to finish strong.
The faculty and staff also took a pledge, led by Dr. Hills, to remember they are here to serve rather than to be served. Then both students and faculty took a pledge together. “As we begin a new year at Corban University, we promise to embrace the race,” they said in unison.
Adrianna Schoorl, a senior, said, “It shows how much the faculty and staff care, they put it all together and make a big deal about it, showing us that we, as students, are a priority in their lives, not just a name on a roll sheet or another number in the system.”
To close, Provost Matt Lucas addressed the student body with the meaning of every part of the ceremony and had the faculty hand out coins. One face of the coin signifies Corban’s 80th anniversary. The other face is the theme with the scripture reference, II Corinthians 5:17. Lucas told the community to keep the coin with them as a reminder to pray for faithfulness throughout the school year.
John Pastor, a freshman, said to him convocation was a chance to recognize the importance of things being made new. “It was like the first stroke on a clean canvas.”