Commencement 2010: 'Little Pencils'
As nearly 300 Spring Hill graduates took their seats on the Avenue of the Oaks, they found little pencils in their chairs. John S. Eads IV, founder of Light of the Village Ministry in Prichard, Ala., put them there to illustrate a point.
The keynote speaker for commencement, Eads explained that God can use people to help others. “It’s not about your ability but your availability,” he said, “Serving God relies on your availability, because it is not about you but about Him.”
Eads and his wife, Delores, founded Light of the Village in 2002. As executive director, Eads supervises an inner-city ministry that operates a private school, a summer camp, an after-school program, and a job development placement program. He directs a gang intervention program for Mobile County and has established ministry sites throughout the Southeast targeting at-risk youth and communities. In addition, he teaches business management and marketing courses at Spring Hill College.
Eads shared several stories of how God used him to work with troubled youth and high-crime communities. He told the class of 2010, “You don’t have to go into a prison, drug house or the streets of Calcutta to find hurting people; they are all around you.”
He closed with the challenge: “Now, go and become a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending love letters to the world.”
Kaiesha D. Ford, nominated class orator by her fellow graduates, delivered the address to the senior class. “Since the beginning, when we first stepped on this beautiful campus, the faculty and staff and everyone put an emphasis on the word ‘community,’” she said.
Ford recalled how her high school counselor and others told her that people wouldn’t care about her as much in college as they did in high school – that she would be nothing but a number. After her four years on the hill, she thought, “They must not know about Spring Hill College. We have some of the best professors employed at this college. They’re not here because they have to be but because they care.”
But, after further consideration, Ford conceded that maybe it is about numbers. “Most professors are only a phone number away.”
Ford said she also has been impressed by the camaraderie of the students, who come from different backgrounds and locations and have different interests and majors. “It just amazes me, then and even now, how our community will come together for a common goal, a particular purpose, or just for general support,” she said.
“So what we can take from Spring Hill with this theme of community,” Ford added, “is not just succeeding individually, but rather providing a sense of nourishment in order to help one another succeed.”
Thomas Lane Butts IV, senior class president, presented the class gift to the college. A “Victory Bell” was installed outside of the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center to create the tradition of applauding Badger sports victories.
Toolen Award – highest scholastic achievement
Anna K. Pate
Allison N. Symulevich
Ignatian Award – fulfills the ideals of Jesuit education for scholarship, leadership and service
Ryan J. Nocito
Anna K. Pate
Rev. Edward B. Moody, S.J., Teacher of the Year Award
Dr. Stephen B. Wilson, professor of theology
Dawson Service Award
Dr. David Dean, Professor of Biology and Chair of the Sciences Division
William J. Rewak, S.J., Service Award for Faculty and Staff
Frank Lucas, Helpdesk Support Specialist in Burke Memorial Library
Dr. Melvin J. Brandon, Professor of Philosophy
Dr. John H. Hafner, Professor of English