This occasion brings us to a new high-water mark in the history of our University—our Thirty-first Commencement—the second since the organization of the institution as the Potomac University," said President E. D. Dick just before the conferring of degrees on the graduates. He told us the institution had its beginning in 1934 and was known as the Advanced Bible School. The first three summers it operated on the campus of Pacific Union College.
The president went on to say that the present class is the largest ever to be graduated by the institution. It includes 5 from the School of Graduate Studies and 69 from the Theological Seminary. He reminded us that at our last Commencement 69 were graduated, which means that 143 have completed their work during the past year. "This is a large number," he said, "to send through the doors of our institution to serve in the four corners of the earth."
After the conferring of the degrees President Dick further stated:
"Ours is a unique church—unique in that it is the one and only Protestant denomination that carries on its worldwide work from one headquarters. Our statistician tells us that we are now working in 185 countries, in 787 languages, and have published literature in 214 of these. This fact calls for carefully drawn lines of understanding of purposes and policies, for unity in the teaching of doctrines, and in the practice of Christian living. It also calls for a deep sense of loyalty to the principles and objectives of the church."
As he continued his remarks the president mentioned the fact that there was great need for more unity among us—a sense of oneness—of belonging—of being an integral part of the movement. "This is imperative," he said, "particularly in these days of rising tides of nationalism, of racism, of anti-Western and anti-Christian attitudes in so many areas of the world."
The speaker reminded us that not only is our church unique but our University is unique in that it is the denomination's highest educational institution for the training of its ministers and teachers. This brings a tremendous challenge. "To this place come the youth from our world field to prepare for service, for leadership. The outreach of the influence of this institution cannot be overestimated. "We have in a measure succeeded statistically," he continued, "because during the past quarter we have had an enrollment of 234. This includes 76 nationals from 30 countries, as follows:
Argentina Austria Barbados Belgium Brazil British Guiana Canada Denmark England Ethiopia Finland Germany Hawaii Iceland Indonesia
Jamaica Japan Korea New Zealand Nicaragua Nigeria Norway Peru Philippine Islands South Africa Southern Rhodesia Sweden Switzerland Trinidad Uruguay
The president president mentioned that besides these there were in attendance missionaries from eighteen countries. "Truly," he said, "this institution is indeed a strong factor in developing oneness in doctrine and practice, oneness in purpose. This sense of belonging, is a tie that binds us together and reminds us that 'the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.'"
In accepting the class gift of $200, President Dick stated that the check he held was not just money but a symbol of that oneness of interest and purpose for which the University stands. J. M. Adeoye, the field evangelist for West Nigeria, now in attendance at the Seminary, expressed appreciation for this meaningful symbol of fellowship and unity of purpose.
In concluding his remarks the president expressed the conviction that two other great services to the denomination should be developed as part of the institution's contribution to the work of the church. First, a missionary orientation program wherein all newly appointed missionaries would be given instruction along lines that would give them a good understanding of their future field of labor and inspire them to a greater dedication of their services thereto. Second, there should be a continuing group of nationals from all our overseas divisions in attendance at the Seminary. Here, instruction in doctrine and church organization and policy could be pursued and a deeper sense of loyalty, of belonging to the great Advent Movement, be developed and strengthened. We believe these convictions are worthy of serious and favorable study.