Spring Class of 2009: Judson University Christian College

Degrees Updated with the Times at Judson Commencement 

By Harry Hitzeman of the Daily Herald's May 3 edition, Used with permission.

(Elgin, IL - May 7, 2009) Judson University in Elgin had 167 graduates Saturday in its spring Class of 2009.

But school officials actually awarded 184 degrees.

Sixteen graduates from the Evangelical Christian university's Classes of 1964 and 1969 came from five states - and even Canda - to receive "updated" degrees because it was Judson College when they earned diplomas.

"Today you are victors. Today you have won," said Jerry Cain, university president. "Today, you have graduated from Judson University."

The degrees were an opening touch to the university's 60th commencement ceremony.

Melody Aristo-Kielisch, an opera singer who graduated from judson in 1973 and was the keynote speaker, also received an honorary degree.

Kielisch, who has performed in venues in Europe and Carnegie Hall in New York, credited her instructors for inspiring her and faith for helping her "sing a note loudly" for the first time.

Kielisch urged students to be proud of their faith, help others and make the most of Act 2 of their lives - their post-college years.

"Don't ever be ashamed of your faith, and don't ever be ashamed to express it," she said, adding, "Right now, Act 2 is going to be everything that happens to you from now on, and in Act 2, you're going to be applying what you learned in Act 1."

University officials also awarded several students with special awards. Lauren Stoklosa of Belvidere won the Undergraduate President's Scholar Award; Christine Russo of Batavia took home the Undergraduate Student Service Award.

Brittany Albers of St. Charles won the Traditional President's Award; Amanda Groves of Rantoul landed the Traditional Student Services Award; and Christopher Browne of Montgomery garnered the Master of Arts Organizational Leadership Award.

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