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MVNU honors Class of 2022

Mount Vernon Nazarene University celebrated 533 graduates in the Class of 2022 for their determination, resolve and faithfulness in earning their degrees during the university’s commencement ceremonies in the R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

May 6, 2022


MVNU honors Class of 2022

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (May 6, 2022) — Mount Vernon Nazarene University celebrated 533 graduates in the Class of 2022 for their determination, resolve and faithfulness in earning their degrees during the university’s commencement ceremonies in the R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

“As your presence testifies today, we persevered and triumphed. You endured an epic pandemic with faith, tenacity, and pure grit,” said President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “Look to your left and to your right to remind yourself that on this day, we do not allow fear to define our future. This is a powerful lesson for the days ahead. You learned this together. Do not let this day go by without reaching out to those who love you to express your appreciation for their support. They walked with you. They prayed with you. They loved you to this day.”

Assistant Professor of Youth and Family Ministries, and a 1999 graduate from MVNU, Jennifer Ballenger encouraged the traditional graduates to be strong and to look at what they hold in their hands: Their gifts, talents, education and their community.

“You hold a lot. Although as much as you have, on its own though, it’s not enough,” said Ballenger. “Pastor Stephanie (Lobdell) reminds us every time we gather together to extend our hands for the benediction as a reminder that we do not have all that we need on our own, which is so true. However, what we do have in our hands, just like with Moses, God says, ‘Lay it down, and watch what I can do with that!’ If you surrender all that you have to him, I believe God will take what you have and do big things in and through you. Friends, you’re ready. You have what you need. I can’t wait to see how God will use you to make a difference in this world as you take the courageous step of faith into your future. May God go before you in every way.”


Rochelle DeVries, an Early Education major, and Zachary Strouse, a Middle Education major, were presented Service Above Self award. The accolade recognizes students who have distinguished themselves in their college career through service to others both on and off campus. Recipients represent the highest ideal of the university motto: To seek to learn is to seek to serve.

Other nominees included: Joey Witosky, Lauren Lain, Daniel Carpenter, Madison Court, Ellie Ruby and Alyssa Weishaar.


Dr. John Noonan, Professor of Mathematics in the School of Natural & Social Sciences, was presented the 2021-2022 Excellence in Teaching Award, to recognize significant contributions to the intellectual growth of students.

“There is no question that Dr. Noonan is an excellent teacher,” said Dr. Barney Cochran, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “In the classroom, he is organized, clear and passionate about helping students learn. He is creative in his pedagogical delivery methods and not afraid to try new methods. In fact, he is often the first to try new types of technology to enhance his classroom instruction. One thing students love about Dr. Noonan’s courses is that he always brings his sense of humor with him. Students also appreciate Dr. Noonan’s passion for the field of mathematics, which is reflected in his ability to make the topics fun and engaging through his high level of enthusiasm. His math-themed ties don’t hurt either.”


Graduates of MVNU’s GPS program were applauded for their hard work and were encouraged to push themselves to the next adventure utilizing the knowledge that they gained as an MVNU student.

“You had elevated goals and here you are. You each had a journey; you each have a unique story. A beginning, a middle, and you may think, an end. You have proven to be lifelong learners. This is not an end; it is a mere beginning of a new trajectory,” said speaker Dr. Lynn Shoemaker, Associate Professor of Education at MVNU. “Some of you have chosen the ministry while others business, social work, teaching, or nursing. This is the day we celebrate you; a day to thank our God for bringing you to this point; a day to eat cake.”

Student testimony was presented by graduate James W. Reed Sr., who shared the trials and successes of his educational journey and thanked MVNU faculty and staff for providing support every step of the way.

“To Change the World with the Love of Christ. That’s the vision statement here at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and it’s not an easy one to achieve,” said Reed. “The love of Christ that I know is gentle, kind, and forgiving. But there are also times when that love must be firm and condemning, yet fair. In reflection of my time here at MVNU, I can attest that the love of Christ shines bright, and it’s the only reason I can now call this amazing university my alma mater.

Commencement ceremonies concluded with welcoming graduates into the university’s Alumni Association by Rev. Brad Kochis (’94), Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Advancement.


The Baccalaureate Worship Service was held Friday and featured a sermon from Tavaris Taylor, MIM, Director of Intercultural Life. He reminded graduates “God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called.”

“God does not care about your comfort. He cares about your call and your character,” said Taylor. “So, he reminds his disciples that he didn’t choose and ordain them to walk with him and look cool and be a fan. He didn’t just ordain them to build up their profile and brand. He didn’t ordain them to get more followers on Tik Tok or, now that you are going into the professional world, on LinkedIn … God calls men and women, and he gives them the ability, talents, education, and opportunities; not for them, but he does it because he has one concern. His concern is fruit. God loves when he gives you fruit, and you take from it unselfishly the seed to produce fruit for someone else.”

Commencement ceremonies are available for viewing on demand at .

To learn more about MVNU’s traditional and online programs, visit .


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