By Al Quartemont, Special to the Message
PINEVILLE – The message Dr. Rick Brewer gave at the 158th commencement of the college he only recently became president of could not have been clearer.
“Rebel against society’s low expectations,” Brewer told the 147 graduates of Louisiana College on Saturday, May 16. “Do hard work.”
In that commencement address, Brewer not only gave the 123 undergraduates and 24 masters students a life-long charge, he may have set a tone for the future of LC, itself.
“The prevalent philosophy of our culture today is, ‘I am going to do what is the least that is expected of me and try to get the most payment for it,’” Brewer said. “In other words, minimum effort for maximum return. Shoddiness and lack of extra effort should never take place in the mind of a Christ follower.”
Brewer called on the students to live their lives under what he termed “The Rebekah Principle.” He used the example of Isaac’s future wife (Genesis 24), who not only served water for Abraham’s servants, but put in the extra effort to water the group’s camels, too.
“After you’ve done what’s asked of you, you do a bit extra, you do even more,” Brewer said. “I’m here to tell you, we not only would see excellence in the market place, but the people doing the hiring would come to our churches to hire Christians. They would know we would do the job… and then some.”
Those three words: And. Then. Some. Brewer said it will make a difference in the graduates’ lives when they go the extra mile instead of falling prey to the current culture’s mindset of only doing what is required. He even gave each graduate two orange wrist bands with the words written on them – one for themselves and the other for an accountability partner.
Brewer used his first graduation ceremony at LC to spotlight the achievements of several students. Not only were all the graduates seated on the stage of Guinn Auditorium, four of them were asked by Brewer to share their experiences at LC.
Those students included:
Ashley Black, a Biblical Studies major from Denham Springs, who began studying Hebrew online while in high school but knew she needed the right mentorship to advance in her understanding.
“I wanted to be able to study the Bible and the languages it was originally written in so that I could more accurately help people understand it,” Black said. “I didn’t come to LC primarily for a degree, but for an education, and that’s exactly what I got.”
Connor Headrick, a history major from Monroe, who will attend Tulane Law School in the fall and wants to specialize in defending religious liberties.
“This isn’t a call that ends today for us,” Headrick said. “It’s just beginning our lives’ work – our call to serve Christ and glorify Him in all we do. The Lord made it very clear that Louisiana College was going to provide the foundation that I needed in order to fulfill my calling.”
Mark Klein, a convergence media major from Baton Rouge, who came to LC to compliment his part-time job opportunity at KALB-TV in Alexandria.
“That is how the Lord led me to LC, and here is the understatement of the year, thank the Lord He did,” Klein said. “LC took a kid in high school whose relationship with Christ was almost non-existent and made that the most important thing in his life.”
Finally, Kimberly Landry, a biology and chemistry major from Denham Springs ,who will attend LSU Medical in Shreveport this fall in order to become a pediatrician.
“I’ve been privileged to study topics from the chemical and biological processes that keep us alive to the laws that govern the universe,” Landry said. “In every aspect of my studies, God’s design and order have been made evident. Many times, science is used to minimize faith. Here at LC, my studies have been a tool to grow my faith.”
“I know that Louisiana College was where God wanted me to be for the last four years. I have loved my time here, and I am honored to call this school my alma mater.”
Black, Headrick and Landry all graduated summa cum laude (4.0) and Klein magna cum laude.
The commencement ceremony was also an opportunity for the LC Board of Trustees and chairman Tommy French to present Dr. Argile Smith, who served as LC’s interim president until Brewer was hired, with a special commendation.
“We are deeply blessed by Dr. Smith’s friendship, exemplary service and immeasurable contributions in support of Christian higher education,” French said.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Smith said. “I must express my gratitude to the administrative council, the staff, the students, the trustees and especially the faculty at Louisiana College. All of us working together were used by the Lord to prepare for the arrival of our fine president, Dr. Rick Brewer.”