Evangeline Colarossi—Staff Write
Dr. Ethan Brue, or as many students know him, Professor Brue, is the speaker for the 2018 graduation ceremony. As someone who has worked at Dordt for the last 18 years, walks the halls teaching and speaking with students, and has a child who will be graduating in the ceremony. Brue has firsthand knowledge of the graduates and Dordt’s community.
He plans to speak about shepherding throughout the Bible and our lives as Christians.
“The scriptural concept of shepherding is not defined by its task,” Brue said, “but rather by its relationship to the sheep. It is an identity, not a job.”
As the students are sent out to their newfound places in the world, they go with this same identity, to be a shepherd. Brue will address what this looks like in every moment of life – not just in work but in small bits of time as well.
Dordt wants the graduate students to receive a personal address.
“The speaker should be someone who knows Dordt, knows its mission and knows the students individually,” said campus chaplain Aaron Baart.
Speakers who are chosen tend to be local pastors or faculty from Dordt This ensures that the speaker knows about the students. They should be familiar with Dordt and can compose a speech that captures the experience, not just a 30-minute going away dispatch.
The commencement ceremony is not only an event that draw hundreds of people to Dordt. It is a way to combine the formal graduation with the informal, yet intimate nature of a family-centered event celebrating the students’ achievements.
Commencement speeches are both a capstone upon everything the students have learned at Dordt and a commission as they are sent out into a world.
“It’s not a sermon,” Baart said. “You want it to be a bit clever or funny, but also some significant faith and fusion from Dordt.”
Aaron Baart and Howard Schaap both co-chair the co-curricular committee. This committee funds special events on campus, finalize awards for distinguished alumni, contribute to the funding of First Mondays and submit potential names to President Hoekstra for the annual commencement speaker.
The commencement speaker isn’t chosen solely by Dordt faculty. The co-curricular committee is composed of staff, faculty, and students from student symposium. This allows the students to include their opinion, but also allow the faculty to stay up-to-date with the ongoing things in student life.
“It’s not extra-curricular, as in beyond. It’s ‘co-,’ as in a part of,” Baart said. “Your whole college experience is your learning.”
Each of the graduating seniors had the opportunity to suggest possible speakers for the ceremony. The co-curricular committee compiles all of these suggestions together and sends two to three of the most frequently suggested names to President Hoekstra, who makes the final decision. The entire process takes about two months and starts near the end of the fall semester. By the start of spring semester classes, the speaker is announced.
The 2018 commencement ceremony will take place on May 11, at 10:00 a.m. in the B. J. Haan auditorium.