Highlights from Buena Vista University’s 2024 Commencement Ceremonies

Buena Vista University celebrated its 133rd Commencement Ceremony on May 4 in Siebens Fieldhouse.

Buena Vista University (BVU) celebrated its 133rd Commencement Ceremony on May 4 by recognizing more than 600 graduates over the course of two ceremonies.

During the Commencement weekend, several notable speakers delivered inspiring messages that emphasized the need for graduates to utilize their education to better what’s around them, the importance of being servant leaders, and living out BVU’s motto of Education for Service.

Below are some highlights of the speeches delivered during Commencement weekend.

Buena Vista University President Brian A. Lenzmeier, Ph.D.President Lenzmeier at podium

“As a BVU graduate I hope you will choose to leverage your great education to be a Beaver…  

Who builds by using their education to raise themselves up, as well as the others around them. Who builds by seeking common ground rather than focusing on differences. Who builds by recognizing that the people around them are human beings who have feelings, a history, and are worthy of respect and dignity. Who builds by stepping up when someone in their family, business, school, church, or community needs help. Who builds by sharing their time, talent, and treasure to pay it forward.

If you dedicate your time to building better lives and stronger communities, you will have a rich and fulfilling life! I wish you all a rich and fulfilling life!

You are now officially Beavers! It is time for YOU to Build!” 

Joshua Woolcott, 2024 Undergraduate Student Speaker

Joshua Woolcott speaking“I have learned that the best knowledge that we can acquire is through our service to others. In an age where technology supposedly brings us closer than we’ve ever been, many people have never felt more alone. Through storytelling, and story listening, a fun term you can use at dinner parties, we can learn what it truly means to be human. We can learn what it means to love, to forgive, to grow, and to put our best foot forward for the betterment of the people and the world around us. Your education, and hopefully—in turn—your service, doesn’t end here. I challenge you to push forward and continue committing yourself to being in service of others.”

Jeff Anderson ’03, 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker

“It’s about leading with authenticity, empathy and kindness, and opening doors for those who may not otherwise have them opened. It’s about being unwilling to compromise on your integrity. Seeking significance is based on the understanding that the relationships you build and nurture and the people you positively impact will ultimately define your life.Jeff Anderson speaking

Each of you has the ability to be significant. You have been molded by the people who are in this building right now, both the faculty and staff who believed and invested in you and the individuals who sit in the audience celebrating your achievement. You have been shaped by those who are no longer with us but remain in your heart. They are all significant. And you now represent them.

As you walk out those doors and begin this monumental moment in your lives, sweep the sheds, remember the willing will separate from the capable, and seek significance.”

Amy Hutchinson, 2024 Graduate Commencement Student Speaker

Amy Hutchinson speaking“Within us exists a sense of integrity, empathy, and compassion towards others that inspired our lifelong commitment to education. With that comes the honorable responsibility of serving others, improving our communities, and meeting the diverse needs in our society.

We can adopt BVU’s mission as our mission when we prepare students for lifelong success through the transformational educational experiences that we’ll create.”

Dr. Rahn Franklin Jr. ’08, M.S. Ed. ’11, 2024 Graduate Commencement Speaker

“Equipped with your new degree, what are you called to build? How can you help close the gap between people,Dr. Rahn Franklin Jr. speaking the planet, and their potential? Between broken systems and flourishing ones? Like me, your education at BV has prepared you to make a difference.

What is this education for? BVU is right: education is for service. Graduates, you are now part of this school’s legacy. Find the gaps. Understand your gifts. And give your gifts away to close the gap between people, the planet, and its potential, like a keystone in the middle of an arch. Or, like a beaver in an ecosystem, build things that foster flourishing for everything in your environment.”

Access the full undergraduate and graduate ceremonies by visiting bvu.edu/commencement.