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Canadian Mennonite University celebrates Class of 2017

Canadian Mennonite University recognized the accomplishments of the Class of 2017 during graduation weekend, held April 21 to April 23, a time filled with reflection, laughter, and tears.

The weekend culminated with CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls conferring 70 undergraduate degrees, seven graduate degrees, one undergraduate certificate, and three graduate certificates, at the graduation service held at Immanuel Pentecostal Church on Sunday, April 23.

“All of us, your teachers, are grateful to you graduands for opening our eyes to new ways of seeing, hearing, and reflecting,” Pauls said. “May the wonder of God’s love ever inspire the vocation of your hearts, hands, and minds as you move from this place.”

Pauls conferred two degrees for the first time ever: Anika Reynar became the first student to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Four-Year) in Interdisciplinary Studies; and Michael Duerksen and Wesley Ngwenya became the first students to graduate from CMU’s collaborative Master of Business Administration program.

Pauls awarded President’s Medals to Reynar and Nicholas Czehryn (BA, Four-Year, Psychology) in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

Anika Reynar delivers her valedictory address

Earlier in the service, Reynar delivered the valedictory address, based on the graduation verse from Proverbs 24:13-14: “My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Reynar said that at CMU, she and her peers were encouraged to learn, think, question, and love, especially in those times when they felt lost, overwhelmed, and disoriented.

“Recognize that who you are and who you have become during your time at CMU is a gift from your friends, mentors, family members, and church community that surround you,” Reynar told her fellow graduates.

“Wherever you find yourself next, carry this place and these people with you,” she added. “When you are lost and overwhelmed, remember to take risks and to start learning, questioning, and loving. Ask for help connected to the community and place where you are; then you will continue to find the sweetness of friendship and to be surprised by the gift of wisdom.”

After Reynar spoke, Adrian Jacobs delivered the graduation address, titled, “Who Are You in a Kairos Moment?”

Adrian Jacobs, Keeper of the Circle at Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, urged students to pursue peace and justice with integrity

Jacobs, who is Keeper of the Circle at Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, an Aboriginal Theological and Ministry Training Program of the United Church of Canada in Beausejour, MB, pointed out that in 2017, Protestants are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and Canadians are celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation.

These are potentially kairos moments, Jacobs said: moments in which God is speaking in some way.

“Keeping up to date in your understanding of the times in which you live, and knowing for sure what God wants you to do, is key to fulfilling Creator’s purpose in your life,” Jacobs said, later challenging the graduates to live with integrity, working for peace and justice. 

“Graduates of Canadian Mennonite University, who are you in this kairos moment of 2017?” Jacobs asked at the end of his address.

At With Gratitude, a CMU graduation weekend event at which graduates share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance, Hannah Stoesz (BA, Four-Year, Social Science – Counselling Studies) reflected on how CMU is an encouraging place where students can safely share their dreams, doubts, and goals.

CMU's class of 2017
CMU’s class of 2017

“The things I have learned, and the people I have encountered at CMU, have helped me grow… and have given me a solid base from which I’m already beginning to interact with and find my place outside of CMU,” Stoesz said. “I will always be grateful for me time here.”

Speaking at the same event, Meara Sparling (BMus, Concentration: Music Education—Early/Middle Years) reflected on how much she has grown over the past four years.

“I was pushed out of my comfort zone over and over, and presented with opportunities I don’t believe I could find anywhere else,” she said.

At CMU, Sparling was encouraged to take on leadership roles in her church. The musical ideas and techniques she learned at CMU helped her as she led choirs and worship.

“I will be eternally grateful for the four years I’ve gotten to spend here,” Sparking said. “I know I will miss walking these halls.”

The Graduation Service and With Gratitude presentation were part of a number of events that occurred during graduation weekend, including a gala dinner on Friday, April 21, Spring Concert on Saturday, April 22, and a Baccalaureate Service the morning of April 23.

Commencement Ceremony (video)
Photo album – 2017 Graduation Events (unedited)

 

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Video

With Gratitude 2016 | Rebecca Longhurst (video)

Rebecca LonghurstThis video features Rebecca Longhurst (CMU ’16) at With Gratitude, April 23, 2016.

Rebecca Longhurst
Bachelor of Arts, 4 Year
Majors: Psychology; Minors: Biblical and Theological Studies, English

With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

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Video

CMU 2016 Graduation Service | April 24, 2016 (video)

CMU’s 2016 graduation service culminated with President Dr. Cheryl Pauls conferring 84 undergraduate degrees, four Master of Arts degrees, and one graduate certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies.

Order of Events:

  • Processional | from Sonate Da Camera Op.4 – Arcangelo Corelli
  • Welcome
  • Congregational Song | For the beauty of the earth
  • Valedictory address | Jonas Cornelson
  • CMU Singers | The Roof – Andrea Ramsey
  • Scripture reading | Matthew 9:9-12
  • Graduation address | The Door of Mercy– Sister Lesley Sacouman
  • Congregational song | Rain Down
  • Conferral of Degrees | Dr. Wesley Toews, Dr. Gordon Zerbe, Dr. Cherly Pauls, Dr. Bruce Guenther
  • President’s Medals
  • Prayer for Graduates | Dr. Sheila Klassen-Wiebe
  • CMU Singers | Sanctus, Benedictus – Kristina Vasilauskaite
  • Offering | Mr. Terry Schellenberg
  • CMU Handbell Ensemble | Toccaa on King’s Weston – Ralph Vaughan Williams, arr. Matthew Compton
  • Benediction | Benediction at God’s Acre – Gwyneth Walker
  • Recessional | from Sonate da Camera Op.4 – Arcangelo Corelli

Image gallery from the weekend’s events here.

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Events General News News Releases

Canadian Mennonite University Celebrates Class of 2016

Eighty-nine graduates honoured during university’s annual commencement exercises

“What are you going to do with your degree?” is a question all university graduates are familiar with. Jonas Cornelsen tackled the query head on during his valedictory address at Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) graduation service.

“I believe the opportunities we have had to sit in class or outside of class and wrestle with deep, complex questions about life, about faith, and about the world have… enhanced also our capacity to love each other, to love God, and to love all of creation more deeply,” Cornelsen (BA, Four-Year, Political Studies, Communications and Media) said during the service, held on Sunday afternoon, April 24 at Immanuel Pentecostal Church.

During the address, Cornelsen meditated on the Class of 2016’s graduation verse, Philippians 1:9: “And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight.”

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Jonas Cornelsen, Valedictorian for CMU’s class of 2016

“Education is a great gift and we can all respond in gratitude by humbly sharing the knowledge and insight we have gained and (received) from others, by showing love to all of those we meet, living by the Creator’s grace, Christ’s example, and the Spirit’s hope in a broken world,” Cornelsen concluded. “That is what you can really do with a degree.”

It was an eloquent, hope-filled message delivered toward the end of a weekend filled with reflection, laughter, and tears as graduates and families enjoyed stories, songs, presentations, and meals along with CMU faculty, staff, and current students.

The graduation service culminated with CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls conferring 84 undergraduate degrees, four Master of Arts degrees, and one graduate certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies.

“On this day of celebration, we collectively honour work well done by 89 fine men and women,” Pauls said before addressing the graduates directly: “We as faculty and staff draw courage in the generosity of being that shapes your faith, your character, your tangible skills, and your vibrant imagination.”

CMU President Pauls (centre) with 2016 President Medal winners Kathleen Bergen and Jonas Cornelson
CMU President Pauls (centre) with 2016 President Medal winners Kathleen Bergen and Jonas Cornelsen

Pauls awarded President’s Medals to Cornelsen and Kathleen Bergen (BA, Four-Year, Biblical and Theological Studies) in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

Earlier in the service, Sister Lesley Sacouman delivered the graduation address.

Sacouman, who co-founded Winnipeg’s Rossbrook House, which has provided a safe haven for tens of thousands of children, and who currently works with newcomers to Canada, urged listeners to consider the question: “Where for you does your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet?”

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Sister Sister Lesley Sacouman, who co-founded Winnipeg’s Rossbrook House, challenged the graduates to provide “compassionate and principled leadership” in her address

“Graduates, the world needs you. The world needs compassionate and principled leadership,” she said. “May God’s merciful gaze embolden you to walk through the door of mercy and embrace the…suffering Christ in your midst.”

At With Gratitude, a CMU graduation weekend event at which graduates share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance, Beth Downey Sawatzky (BA, Four-Year, English) reflected on how the faculty, staff, and students at CMU have cultivated “an institutional culture of kindness rather than one of prestige or competition.”

“If I have learned anything at CMU that will stay with me no matter what the future holds, it’s that if we as Christians truly believe what we claim to believe, we can always afford to be kind,” she said. “I hope whatever I become—professor, priest, mother, all or none of the above—I hope whatever I become that I will be rebelliously kind; that I will be as rebelliously courageous as my mentors of the last five years have been.”

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CMU’s class of 2016

Speaking at the same event, Nonsi Sibanda (BBA, Business Management) shared how she was fortunate to move from Zimbabwe to study at CMU.

“I got an opportunity to grow in a place where my career options are not limited (and) where there is hope for a bright future,” Sibanda said.

She added that prior to coming to CMU, she understood business and Christianity as two separate domains with no connections. Studying at CMU’s Redekop School of Business showed her otherwise.

“Business for me is not about the love of numbers anymore,” Sibanda said. “It is about the joy I have in my heart to serve others in an honest and in a diligent way.”

The Graduation Service and With Gratitude presentation were part of a number of events that occurred during graduation weekend, including a gala dinner on Friday, April 22, Spring Concert on Saturday, April 23, and Baccalaureate Service the morning of April 24.

Image gallery from the weekend’s events here.

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2015’s Graduation Service (video)

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Canadian Mennonite University Celebrates Class of 2015

Eighty-seven degrees, two certificates awarded during university’s annual commencement exercises

When Joseph Kiranto moved from Kenya to study at Canadian Mennonite University, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to major in. Each class he attended piqued his interest.

“Before long, the list of what I wanted to do became unrealistic for me,” Kiranto said. “I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself if it were not for the help of… the faculty and staff.”

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Joseph Kiranto, CMU’s Class of 2015 Valedictorian

Kiranto told the story during his valedictory address at CMU’s graduation service, held on Sunday afternoon, April 26 at Immanuel Pentecostal Church. Kiranto (BA, Four-Year, Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies) was one of 89 students who graduated.

Referencing the Class of 2015’s graduation verse, James 3:17-18, Kiranto encouraged his fellow graduates to do the best they can in spite of the obstacles they might face.

“Here at CMU we have been challenged, we have been encouraged, we have been empowered, and we have been motivated,” Kiranto said. “I will do the best I can. Will you?”

It was an inspiring message delivered toward the end of a weekend filled with reflection, laughter, and tears as graduates and families enjoyed stories, songs, presentations, and meals along with CMU faculty, staff, and current students.

The graduation service culminated with CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls conferring 78 undergraduate degrees, nine Master of Arts degrees, and two graduate certificates in Christian Studies.

“With credentials, we honour the credibility of the tangible skills, transferable competencies, vibrant imaginations, and responsive hearts of the graduands,” Pauls said. “We also profess trust in their capacity and commitment to be agents of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.”

CMU President Cheryl Pauls (centre) with President Medal winners Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (left) and Michael Wiebe (right)
CMU President Cheryl Pauls (centre) with President Medal winners Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (left) and Michael Wiebe (right)

Pauls awarded President’s Medals to Mike Wiebe (BA, Four-Year, Communications and Media) and Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (BMus, Concentration: Performance – Collaborative Piano) in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

Earlier in the service, Rev. Dr. Hippolyto Tshimanga, a theologian and missiologist who works as the director of Mennonite Church Canada’s Africa, Europe, and Latin America Ministry, delivered the graduation address.

Tshimanga challenged graduates to face the obstacles they encounter with bravery.

“Believe in your God-given potential, believe in the education that you have received, and keep on moving,” Tshimanga said. “What you should have is unshakeable, unshakeable belief in what you are able to accomplish. Have the courage to act on your belief.”

At With Gratitude, a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance, Clare Schellenberg (BA, Four-Year, Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies) reflected on her time at CMU, which included an independent study course that involved hiking the Camino de Santiago, an 800-kilometre pilgrimage route in Spain.

Schellenberg said that her time at CMU altered her understanding of peace and justice, and highlighted for her the importance of relationships in navigating the conflicts people face.

“I am leaving with an imagination to reach out to those I fear, to touch the heart of complexity, to imagine beyond what is seen, to risk vulnerability one step at a time, and to open my mind and heart as big as an ocean,” Schellenberg said.

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CMU’s class of 2015

Speaking at the same event, Kathy McCamis (Master of Arts, Theological Studies) reflected on how the costs of doing a graduate degree seemed high when she resigned from her position as a youth pastor to pursue full-time ministry studies at CMU.

McCamis, who was one of four graduates who earned their MA from CMU in affiliation with Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, also realized she was studying for her MA at a time when many people question the value of a seminary education.

McCamis does not regret her decision, though.

“I graduate having been formed as a person who is growing in my ability to love God and to love my neighbour, as well as to love myself,” she said.

“That to me is the greatest gift of seminary education, and that is worth infinitely more to me than any of the costs that I’ve incurred along the way.”

The Graduation Service and With Gratitude presentation were part of a number of events that occurred during graduation weekend, including a gala dinner on Friday, April 24, Spring Concert on Saturday, April 25, and Baccalaureate Service the morning of April 26.

The entire 2015 graduation service is available for viewing on CMU’s Youtube channel. (link)

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over about 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Alumni Profiles Articles

Alumni Profiles–Alex Klippenstein (CMU ’14)

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This video features Alex Klippenstein (CMU ’14) at With Gratitude, April 26, 2014. With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

Here, Alex considers how Philosophy enabled him to more closely and rigorously examine the ideologies underpinning other disciplines of interest to him, such as Theology. He expresses gratitude for the way his Philosophical studies allowed and indeed pushed him to ask his very deepest, most difficult questions about the world, God, society, and himself.

Alex Klippenstein
Bachelor of Arts, 4 Year
Majors: Philosophy

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Alumni Profiles Articles

Alumni Profiles–Brittany Uskiw (CMU ’14)

Brittany_UskiwThis video features Brittany Uskiw (CMU ’14) at With Gratitude, April 26, 2014, a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

Here, Michelle Kramer provides piano accompaniment for Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata.

Brittany Uskiw, flautist
Bachelor of Music
Concentration: Music Education

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Alumni Profiles Articles

Alumni Profiles–Brent Retzlaff (CMU ’14)

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This video features Brent Retzlaff (CMU ’14) at With Gratitude, April 26, 2014. With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

Here, Brent explains how his studies and independent research at CMU have opened his eyes to the relationships that link people groups, individuals, and events across space and time, weaving us all together.

Brent Retzlaff
Bachelor of Arts, 4 Year
Major: History

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Alumni Profiles Articles

Alumni Profiles–Erin Sawatzky (CMU ’14)

Erin SawatzkyThis video features Erin Sawatzky (CMU ’14) at With Gratitude, April 26, 2014. With Gratitude is a CMU graduation weekend event at which class members share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff, and affords graduates a valuable opportunity to showcase what their studies have meant to them.

Here, Erin extolls her interdisciplinary education for the way it shook her certainty, helped her un-learn things poorly or incompletely apprehended before, and provoked her best scholarship by offering her ever new, bigger, subtler and more daringly real-world questions to wrestle with.

Erin Sawatzky
Bachelor of Arts, 3 Year
Major: Social Science