ALLIANCE, Ohio – “To be a graduate of the University of Mount Union and to embody its mission is to be prepared to live fulfilled lives. It’s to have meaningful work, but it’s also to be responsible in the world.”
Those were the words of Bishop Tracy S. Malone, current residing bishop to the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church, which she shared with the 172nd graduating class of seniors during the annual Baccalaureate ceremony at the University of Mount Union. The ceremony, held on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., took place in the Peterson Field House at Mount Union.
Baccalaureate is a religious sermon given to the graduating class and precedes the University’s Commencement ceremony.
The service began with a prelude from pianist Jennifer (Grant ’13) Linville and an invocation read by Erica Mascio ’18, a biology major from Ravenna, Ohio.
“I think I can speak for my fellow students when I say that today, we are thankful,” Mascio said. “We’re thankful for our growth as people, grateful for the opportunities we’ve had and excited for what lies ahead.”
The Mount Union Concert Choir, led by Dr. Grant W. Cook III, professor of music and director of choral activities, performed “Alleluia” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” as part of the service.
Seniors Natalie Cerciello ’18, Katherine Letts ’18, Lane Bryer ’18, Stephen Dages ’18, Savannah Morris ’18 and Jalen McGill ’18 all participated in leading poems, hymns, scripture readings and prayers during the ceremony.
The message, given by Malone, was titled “Staying On Track.” She spoke about being transformational leaders who do for others by taking past experiences to make others’ lives better.
“Life itself is a journey, or may I even say, an expedition and an exploration,” Malone said. “Every struggle, joy, accomplishment and moment of your life has served a purpose in your formation, which has helped shape your faith, life, education, character and leadership.
“You need great strength in your journey to stay on track,” Malone continued. “Stay on track by staying focused. Choose to be a life-long learner, and always be open to God’s possibilities for your life. Be a leader in the world who makes a difference.”
The service concluded with a benediction by Reverend Kyle Woodrow, chaplain at Mount Union.