Vander-Plas to be Student Speaker at Commencement
Apr. 30, 2013
A new tradition will take place this weekend as Lubbock Christian University gets set to hold its commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday (May 3rd and 4th).
The ceremony for those graduating with a Master's degree will be at 7:30pm on Friday, May 3rd in the McDonald Moody Auditorium with 49 graduate students walking the stage. The undergraduate ceremony will be at 10am in the Rip Griffin Center with 193 students receiving their Bachelor's degree.
President Tim Perrin, finishing up his first year in office, has added a new element to the LCU Undergraduate Commencement for this spring, as he will introduce a graduating student speaker to make a presentation about their LCU experience. Students have not had the honor to speak at graduation in the past, but President Perrin thought this would be an opportunity for the audience to catch a glimpse of how special LCU is to its students.
"Graduation ceremonies are, at their heart, about the graduates. They are a celebration of the accomplishments and achievements of students, marking an important milestone in their lives," said President Perrin. "Thus, I'm pleased that we will have one of our graduating seniors speak on behalf of her fellow students as part of our undergraduate commencement exercises this spring. It will help to give voice to the student experience at LCU and will serve as a vivid reminder of the many inspiring stories of perseverance and dedication represented among our graduates."
Kristen Vander-Plas has been selected to be the first student to give an address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Ms. Vander-Plas is from Lubbock and majored in Humanities, Specialization, and Political Science at LCU, with a minor in History, English, Law, and Government. While attending LCU, Vander-Plas has been involved in the University Honors program and has presented her research at national, regional, and local conferences. Vander-Plas will be going to Texas Tech University School of Law in August of 2013. After graduating from law school, Vander-Plas hopes to become a prosecutor with the Lubbock District Attorney's Office.
Vander-Plas, a 4.0 GPA student for 10 consecutive semesters, was chosen as the speaker after tryouts were conducted before a committee representing the faculty/staff of LCU.
"I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it," Kristen said of the tryout process. "I've always been apprehensive about giving formal speeches, so I made myself audition. I put it out of my mind as soon as the audition was over, because I was just happy I hadn't intimidated myself out of it. When I was told I had been chosen, I was in utter shock ... then, I got really excited and called my folks."
As one of the more active student leaders on the LCU campus over the last several years, Vander-Plas would seem to have plenty to share in her speech. The honor of being elected is somewhat of a pinnacle for her and she wishes to extol many of her LCU experiences during her address.
"This (being chosen to speak) ranks really, really high as far as honors go during my LCU career," she said proudly. "It's definitely a crowning achievement, but is probably slightly less exciting than the news that the administration had decided to give my idea of the Student Leadership Council a try for the 2011-12 school year."
With family, friends and fellow graduates all in attendance it would seem that Vander-Plas has an audience that will be engaged when her time to speak comes along. Her hope is that she can share the positive influence that LCU has made on her life.
"My speech focuses on my journey in particular, but I hope it will be recognizable to all of my fellow graduates," Vander-Plas said as she looks ahead to the ceremony. "We all have a second home here at LCU, and I hope that theme resonates with everyone. I'm hoping I handle the emotions of the occasion really well. I've been practicing my speech so that I don't choke up, but I'll probably still cry, honestly. I hope everyone understands!"
Judge James O. Browning, who will receive an honorary doctorate degree from LCU during the ceremony, will give this year's Undergraduate Commencement address.