Judson University celebrated188 graduates during the 87th commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7. Three-time Olympian Tracy Evans Land gave the keynote address to graduates in ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Herrick Chapel (1151 N. State St., Elgin).
National Champion and Olympian Tracy Evans Land invited Judson’s graduates to create a masterpiece of their lives by focusing on excellence, making the world a brighter place through service, and pursuing ongoing learning as a way to improve and grow. All of these values, Evans Land said, were instrumental in helping her develop into an Olympian. She competed in freestyle skiing in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 Olympics and was the first aerial skier to perform both a double-twisting triple somersault and triple-twisting double somersault in competition.
“Excellence is not purely about the result and is not only achieved by those who win. It is also about the joy of participating and achieving your personal goals; striving to be and do your best in all you do,” Evans Land explained. She shared several stories about focusing on her goal and working hard as an athlete at the highest level.
Evans Land encouraged the graduates to find opportunities to make the world a better, brighter place for others. After completing her Olympic dreams, Evans Land followed the lead of her family and was part of a mission trip to Rwanda, where organizers wanted to hold a sports camp for children. Since she had seen the impact of sports on improving lives, she was amazed by how sports opened new understandings of girls’ roles in Rwanda. The impact of the trip was so profound she founded Kids Play International (KPI), a nonprofit organization that aims to promote gender equity and the Olympic values by introducing less familiar sports to children in post-genocide affected countries.
Evans Land stressed the importance of life-long learning and encouraged graduates to take note of how they performed and how their lives were enriched through on-going learning. She ended by saying these three values of excellence, service, and learning have helped her achieve her dreams and asked graduates to consider what they will do to create a masterpiece of their lives.
During the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony, 98 students graduated, including 31 from the Traditional Architecture and Art and Design programs, 4 from the Master of Architecture program and 63 from the Division of Professional Studies programs: Masters (MBA, Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling) and Adult Undergraduate (evening adult students) Bachelor of Arts and Associate of Arts.
At the 2 p.m. commencement program, 83 students graduated from the Traditional Undergraduate program and seven from the Doctor of Education in Literacy (DLIT) program. During this service, Judson graduated 13 students with a Certificate of Completion from the RISE (Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment) Program for students with intellectual disabilities.
Distinguished academic awards for excellence and leadership were presented to the following students:
Debra Krumsee of Sleepy Hollow, Ill., is a Business Administration major graduate who was awarded the President’s Scholar Award, which is presented to the graduating senior who demonstrates the persistence and commitment. During her time at Judson, Debra earned Dean’s List honors, Judson honors and was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. During her classwork, she was a class thought leader and helped other students by sharing her professional experience, encouragement, and feedback.
Madison Psinas of Pekin, Ill., is an Architecture major graduate. She was honored with the President’s Scholar Award-Traditional Undergraduate, which is Judson’s highest recognition for scholarship and is awarded to the graduating senior in the Traditional Program who has demonstrated distinguished academic achievement in the context of a Christian liberal arts program. During her time at Judson, Psinas was a member of the prestigious Judson Leaders Scholars program and has been on the Dean’s List every semester while pursuing an honors diploma. She was a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students and Tao Sigma Delta, the architectural honors society. Due to her academic achievements and leadership, she was honored with the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award. She also volunteers at her local Pregnancy Crisis Center and has served for two years as an intern with the Judson University World Leaders Forum.
Both Commencement services were broadcast on Judson’s YouTube Channel.
Photos by Kevin Sherman Photography courtesy of Judson University.