Wess Stafford and Bill Hamel speak at 2009–10 commencements
Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International, and Dr. Bill Hamel, president of the Evangelical Free Church of America, were the keynote speakers for Northwestern’s December 2009 and May 2010 commencement ceremonies, respectively.
Each speaker pointed out his own Northwestern connections—Stafford’s daughter, Katie, was among the December grads and Hamel’s daughter, Kari (Hamel) Berglund, graduated in 1998.
Admitting to the graduates that commencement may be “the least teachable moment in your university career,” Stafford nonetheless shared words that he wished he had heard at his commencement. “It’s a jungle out there, so be different and be better. And as a child of God, it’s not all that hard,” he noted as he encouraged the class to live with God-honoring excellence. “Who you will be will dictate your future,” Stafford continued. “And my prayer is that you won’t wake up 30 years down the road and be disappointed in who you have become.”
Hamel brought the class verse, Joshua 1:9, into the advice he gave, summing up two key principles that would help them live a life without regret. “No matter what you face, the Lord who went with the Israelites will go with you,” Hamel said. He also shared that we need to discover God’s truth —through God’s Word and on our knees. “Don’t accept the truth of man,” he said. “Discover the truth of God and follow it, with grace extended.”
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