Messages filled with fond memories and personal stories made the Undergraduate Spring Convocation unforgettable. More than 650 people tuned in to the Livestream and graduates, family, friends, and faculty kept the chat buzzing with celebratory cheer and encouragement.
"Grads of 2021, I salute you! This has been a crazy year and you endured!" wrote Kaitlyn McMurray.
"So proud of all of you! Heartfelt congratulations, and may God's blessings and presence follow you and keep you in what comes next!" wrote Dr. Andrew Witt, Tyndale Assistant Professor, Old Testament.
Early on, the event featured Emily Jane Ades, 2021 Graduating Student Speaker, who offered words of reflection and encouragement to the Class of 2021. She also provided snippets of campus life and a lively perspective as an undergraduate student. The humorous moments and fond memories such as "spontaneous late night adventures - a trip to McDonalds, binge-watching some ridiculous reality TV show, or simply talking for hours into the night while consuming an abundance of snacks."
"The [cafeteria] and other places such as the commuter lounge provided a space where community was established where we could sit for hours chatting and laughing and working and even just playing table tennis,” she said. “All in all, Tyndale became a home. A place where we learned to love and be loved."
The past year, however, left “unshakeable feelings of disappointment, sadness, and uncertainty” that seemed prevalent among students. To encourage fellow students, Emily shared scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Dr. Daniel L. Wong, Convocation Speaker and retired Associate Professor of Christian Ministries at Tyndale University, empathized about how the graduating Class of 2021 was most affected by the radical change of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Dr. Wong noted how the year brought about important lessons of adaptability, finding support, and seeking direction.
"You have accomplished no small feat in this changing environment," said Dr. Wong.
"Our final online classes have been surprisingly emotional and we've been able to both celebrate the achievements of those who are graduating and grieve the loss of face to face interactions this school year. In one course, we stayed on past the end of class and talked, laughed, and told prank stories. It's been a tough year, but God has been rich in His blessings and we learn from each other - not only the lecture content, but also about life and how to care for one another.
"Know the Tyndale community is cheering you on. Congratulations graduates! God bless!"