Graduates Prepare To Walk Boldly Into The Future
Members of Liberty’s senior class are gearing up to take their last final exams, submit their last projects and begin the next season of their lives. As these seniors reflect on their time at Liberty and anticipate where they are headed next, they have one common hope—to impact the world for Christ.
This year, in-person graduation comes as a pleasant surprise for Liberty’s 2021 graduates. The 2021 class is totaled at over 15,000, and many are excited to celebrate the end of their era as undergraduate students. As the countdown to Liberty’s 48th annual commencement draws near, students are feeling the reality of their impending future.
“I feel very sentimental and nostalgic about graduation. The past four years have been transformative for me and so many of my peers,” Constance Schneider, Liberty’s student body president graduating with a bachelor’s of science in industrial organizational psychology, wrote in a text. “The fact that we’ll be able to have commencement this year is exciting! I am very much so looking forward to walking across the stage.”
Schneider has served as the voice for the student body through her role as student body president by supporting student organizations, addressing students’ concerns and providing engaging programs for students. Graduation holds particular significance for Schneider, as she hopes to commemorate her time at the university alongside the student body she has tirelessly and humbly served.
“I’ve grown in so many ways through my position as student body president. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that everything I am and ever will be is bound in Jesus,” Schneider wrote. “I hope my classmates also understand this truth… No matter where we end up, reflecting Jesus will always be more important than power, influence or position.”
Next fall, Schneider will be attending Emory University School of Law, in hopes of dedicating herself to serving the vulnerable with a law degree.
“My ultimate goal is to provide equal access to justice and dignify others by working with nonprofits to provide low-income communities with competent attorneys,” Schneider wrote. “I hope to use my skills to uplift those who needed it most.”
Another Liberty senior, Jonathan Tenerovich, will be graduating with a bachelor of science in environmental biology and a minor in psychology. He plans to take a gap year while applying to grad schools, and he hopes to bring joy to the world of science and conservation through whatever he does next.
“I hope to find solutions that bring compromises that value humans and the earth alike—not because of political agendas but because of the dominion mandate set out for us as believers in Genesis,” Tenerovich said.
Tenerovich said that Liberty has not only shaped his academic future, but Campus Community, particularly the moments during worship, also played a role in shaping the person he has become.
“We were all worshiping, and I suddenly was overcome with the spirit and was at such peace,” Tenerovich said. “I told the Lord, ‘There is nothing I would rather do for the rest of eternity than this.’”
Along with Tenerovich, senior Casey Smith will be graduating this spring. After finishing her bachelor of arts in graphic design, she plans to continue working full time running her photography business, Casey Smith Photography. She wants to spend a few more years in her home area of Lynchburg before moving west to pursue other photography opportunities.
Smith hopes to show the love of Christ to her clients through the medium of her photography business and to anyone else she works with during her career.
“All of my clients and friends are people coming from different places in life,” Smith said. “We are called to love them where they are at that moment. The impact that I hope to have is to be able to love those around me, wherever they are, with the love of Christ.”
These students’ goals echo the others belonging to the sea of 2021 graduates, whose dreams revolve around making changes to expand the kingdom of Christ.
“I hope my classmates choose to move forward knowing our ultimate calling is not to change the world, but to do everything we can to be more like Christ,” Schneider wrote. “If we seek first the kingdom of God, all else will be added to us—including positions, platforms and world-changing opportunities.”