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Commencement Ceremonies 2024: Embracing the Future

  • PCC graduate walks out of the auditorium an Alumni after the 2024 Commencement Ceremony.
  • 2024 Graduates walk down the aisle during Commencement
  • 2024 Nursing Graduates walk with their lamps during Commencement
  • Dr. Dave Hurst, a respected pediatric cardiologist, received an Honorary Doctor of Science.
  • 2024 Graduates and their family pose for a photo after Commencement
  • Mekenzie Olinger was honored with the Nursing Excellence Award.
  • Gabriel Breau was awarded the President’s Citation of Merit.
  • 2024 Graduates pose for a photo during Commencement
  • Honorees of the Faculty Academic Scholarship Award from the Arts and Sciences, Biblical Studies, and Liberal Arts Commencement Ceremony
  • PCC Graduate walks across the stage during Commencement
  • 2024 Graduate girls pose for a photo during Commencement
  • 2024 Graduate guys toss their hat up after Commencement

Attendees in the Crowne Centre auditorium hushed as trumpets announced the beginning of the 2024 Commencement Ceremonies. As composer Benedetto Marcello’s “Psalm 19” played, graduates proudly marched down the aisles of the auditorium. A deep sense of decorum permeated the atmosphere, and the crowd waited with bated breath as this long-awaited day began.  

During this year’s Commencement Ceremonies, Pensacola Christian College conferred over 850 degrees to undergraduate and graduate students representing 47 U.S. states and 26 foreign countries and territories. During the final week of classes, many students were granted honors and awards in special chapel services, culminating in three ceremonies that honored the hard work of each and every graduate.

“Success, if you’re tethered to Christ, has meaning, purpose, and impact.”

Jeanette M. Nuñez, the lieutenant governor of Florida, received an Honorary Doctor of Laws
Jeanette M. Nuñez, the lieutenant governor of Florida, received an Honorary Doctor of Laws.

Every year, PCC chooses to express respect and appreciation to those who have displayed exceptional leadership and faithful service to the Lord in their ministry and vocation by conferring honorary doctorates. This year, Dr. David Hurst, a distinguished PCC graduate and respected pediatric cardiologist, received an Honorary Doctor of Science, and Jeanette M. Nuñez, the lieutenant governor of Florida, received an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Nuñez spoke during the Friday Commencement Ceremonies. Encouraging the graduates, she reminded them, “Success, if you’re tethered to Christ, has meaning, purpose, and impact.” The graduates were then charged to follow Christ wherever He leads them, “whether that be a battlefield, a mission field, or a classroom.”

Speaking during the Nursing Commencement Ceremony, Dr. Hurst echoed Nuñez’s message and encouraged the nursing graduates to serve where God has placed them with compassion and empathy. “When it comes to empathy and caring for patients, gratefulness is the root of all success,” he added.

Thursday Commencement Ceremony

On the evening of May 9, the undergraduate and graduate nursing students were the first to cross the stage during the Nursing Commencement Ceremony. Traditionally, one nursing graduate is presented the Nursing Excellence Award for best representing academic achievement, the integration of Christian principles, and the high standards of the nursing profession among the nursing class. Mekenzie Olinger (Nursing ’24) was honored with the award.

“The pin has come to symbolize the initiation of graduates into the nursing profession.”

2024 Nursing Graduate walks across the stage during Commencement

Before the procession, each graduating nursing student was presented with a pin—pinned to their regalia by a close friend or family member—in recognition of the service, sacrifice, and dedication required of those in the profession. “The pin has come to symbolize the initiation of graduates into the nursing profession,” said Dr. Denise McCollim, dean of Arts and Sciences. “Like other nursing schools, PCC has its own unique pin. If you look closely at PCC’s nursing pin, you’ll see the words ‘strength,’ ‘truth,’ and ‘beauty’ just as they appear on our college seal.”

Each graduate was also presented with a lamp, symbolic of the nursing profession. The lamp pays tribute to Florence Nightingale, who made history by tending to the needs of sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. At the close of the ceremony, nursing faculty and the new alumni collectively recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge, committing themselves to service in the nursing profession.

Friday Commencement Ceremonies

Graduating students in the Professional Studies and Visual and Performing Arts Ceremony and the Arts and Sciences, Biblical Studies, and Liberal Arts Ceremony were honored on Friday, May 10.

It is tradition that two outstanding graduates are awarded the President’s Citation of Merit. These graduates embody the mission and purpose of the College through their personal character and values. This year, Megan Smith (Performance Studies ’24) and Gabriel Breau (Pastoral Ministries ’24) were each honored with this coveted award.

Megan Smith was awarded the President’s Citation of Merit
Megan Smith was awarded the President’s Citation of Merit.

Twenty-one other graduates received special recognition for earning a 4.0 GPA in their coursework. Recipients of this Faculty Academic Scholarship Award will have their names engraved on a permanent plaque displayed on campus. As each of these graduates made their way on stage to receive a medallion, audience members and faculty alike beamed with pride.

Hearing from the Graduates

After each ceremony, graduates gathered around campus to meet with friends, family, and classmates to celebrate their achievements and remember their time together.

Dylan Lambert (A.S. Office Systems ’24) is excited to go back home and work for a local woodworking company. “I chose to study office systems after God opened my eyes to follow more after Him,” Dylan explained. “He showed me the need for communication throughout the plant [back home], and office systems was the best option to learn the office world to better help my company.”

Knowing she wanted to study nursing from a Christian perspective, Abby Silva (Nursing ’24) chose to come to PCC. “I’ve wanted to be in healthcare as long as I can remember,” she recalled. “PCC’s unique combination of great academics and a Christ-centered worldview made the choice to come down here easy.” After a busy summer traveling, Abby will work on a critical care unit at a hospital back home.

“There is nothing like the Word of God being preached with power, passion, and poise.”

2024 Graduate and his family poses for a photo afterCommencement

For many of these graduates, PCC has been a place that regularly reminded and encouraged personal and spiritual growth throughout their college years. “I always enjoyed Bible Conference, and I’ll sincerely miss it,” shared Jacob Carroll (Youth Ministries ’24). “There is nothing like the Word of God being preached with power, passion, and poise. The Lord has used Bible Conferences over the past four years to help with many life-altering decisions.”

Excited about the opportunities her degree has given her, nursing graduate Marenda Williams (’24) offers wisdom to incoming freshmen. “Freshie, just do your best with Jesus and study the material,” she encourages. “If God wants you to do something, He’ll help you make it through.”

Congratulations, Class of 2024! May God guide you through this next chapter, just as He guided you through your college career.