On the sunny afternoon of Friday, June 25, 2021, Olivet University's held Commencement Service for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 at the school's main campus in Riverside (Anza), California.
The event, which has not taken place in-person in 2 years due to the global pandemic, drew leaders and members of the Olivet University school community from far and wide.
The large attendance at the gathering lent to the celebratory atmosphere that filled the campus leading up to and during the commencement events. A full academic procession of University administrative and faculty leaders was present on the stage at the gathering.
Dr. Joseph Lee, Faculty of Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies, welcomed the audience with an opening speech before introducing faculty and administration leaders on the stage.
Dr. Joan Carter, Dean of Olivet School of Art and Design, gave the invocation prayer before a choir musical selection was led by Dr. Merril Smoak, Dean of Jubilee College Of Music (JCM).
Dr. Mattthias Gebhardt, University President, gave his greetings and remarks followed by Dr. Nathanael Tran, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, introducing this year's commencement speaker Dr. Jim Barnes.
The University was greeted by Commencement Speaker Dr. Jim Barnes, who delivered an address urging the audience to "do all for Christ." Dr. Jim Barnes is an accomplished evangelical Christian higher education administrator and friend of Olivet University's who is currently serving as a senior mentor to the Board of Trustees as part of ABHE's Excellence in Board Governance Training Program.
Of special note at this year's Commencement was the awarding of degrees to a remarkable number of doctoral graduates. Forty-seven men and women graduated from Olivet University's Doctor of Ministry degree program.
Commencement also honored degree recipients who were not able to attend in-person with a video presentation of them dressed in full cap and gown.
Dr. William Wagner, Director of Olivet Institute for Global Strategic Studies, gave the benediction with all academic leaders to bless the graduates as the event concluded.
The entire commencement was viewable via Livestream online.
A dinner reception followed the service, along with a praise and prayer night held in the University Chapel, which was beautifully decorated for this year's Commencement Service.