Home Bridgewater College Commencement: ‘Make the most of your dash’

Bridgewater College Commencement: ‘Make the most of your dash’

Crystal Graham
Bridgewater College graduate high five
Photo courtesy Bridgewater College

Bridgewater College recognized 313 undergraduates and 25 master’s students receiving degrees on Saturday during the 143rd Commencement Ceremony.

The degrees were conferred by Dr. David W. Bushman, president of Bridgewater College.

Grand Marshal Dr. Donna Hoskins, associate professor of health and human sciences, called the ceremony to order, and four seniors took to the stage to share an invocation in their native languages: English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

Bushman welcomed members of the Class of 2023 and their family and friends to the ceremony, and Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees D. Bruce Christian then spoke to the Class of 2023, noting their adaptability and perseverance and reminded graduates that they always have a home at BC.

President of the College’s Alumni Association Bradley Hallock remarked on the care and support of the Bridgewater community and encouraged graduates to stay connected to one another and to their mentors at BC.

Lara Buchanan spoke on behalf of the graduate program candidates. Buchanan, a master of science in human resource management student from Middlebrook, spoke on the power of persevering to achieve goals despite obstacles. The single mother of two worked full-time while earning her master’s degree.

“Life is ever-changing; that’s a fact. A lesson learned is that you get to decide on your direction,” Buchanan said.

Senior Class President Nina Andrews, a communication, technology and culture major from Harrisonburg, presented the class gift. The class of 2023 selected the Bridgewater College Scholarship Fund as the designation for their class gift, to give other students the opportunity to develop their intellectual and cultural horizons.

Hannah McPherson, recipient of the 2023 Bridgewater College Founder’s Day Award and an applied physics major from Callaway, remarked on the class’s ability to rally together through hardships of the last few years.

“No matter what the past few years have looked like for each of us, this moment is the sum of all that we share,” McPherson said.

Following the reflection, the College’s Symphonic Band performed “Amazing Grace” arranged by Tim Curd.

Rev. Dr. Robbie Miller also served as the commencement speaker for 2023.

“The measure of success in our brief span of life – represented by that little ‘dash’ between the year we’re born and the year we die – is not the money we earn or the things we accumulate or the degrees we acquire or the recognition we receive, but the love we share and the difference we make.”

Breaking down the Class of 2023

  • 159 bachelor of arts degrees
  • 154 bachelor of science degrees
  • 32 members of the class graduated summa cum laude – the top academic honor which requires students to achieve at least a 3.9 grade point average on a 4.0 scale
  • 40 graduates earned magna cum laude honors – a 3.7 or better average.
  • 55 graduates earned cum laude honors, requiring a 3.4 grade point average
  • Three students graduated with a master of science in psychology – mental health professions
  • Three students graduated with a master of arts in digital media strategy
  • Six students graduated with a master of science in athletic training
  • 13 students graduated with a master of science in human resource management

After conferring the degrees, Bushman encouraged the newest graduates of Bridgewater College to “make the most of your dash” and to discover their vocation, or calling – “the place where your greatest talents meet the world’s greatest needs.”

“What will you be called to do? Where will you make a difference in the world? How will you make a difference in the lives of others? How will you spend your dash? You can do great things. Believe in yourself,” he said.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Shenandoah Valley.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.