Judson confers degrees on 245 graduates
Judson University in Elgin awarded diplomas to 245 graduates during its 81st graduation Saturday.
During the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony, 131 students graduated, including 30 from the traditional undergraduate program, 16 from the master of architecture program and 85 from the division of professional studies programs. This service marked the first graduating class for Judson's master of arts in clinical mental health counseling. Judson also recognized Robert King Brown, a life insurance executive and founder of CIC Companies, with an honorary doctoral degree.
At the 2 p.m. commencement, 106 students graduated from the traditional undergraduate program and nine from the doctor of education in literacy program. Judson's first group of eight students in its RISE (Road To Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment) Program for students with intellectual disabilities also received their certificates of completion.
Artist, writer and speaker Makoto Fujimura, recently appointed director of culture care initiative at Fuller Theological Seminary's Brehm Center, gave the keynote address at both ceremonies. A presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-09, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts and advised on governmental policies.
He described watching the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burn and topple just days ago, recounted the morning of Sept. 11 when the World Trade Center Towers came down three blocks from his home and discussed visiting Columbine High School on April 20 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 school shooting.
"It matters what we do with these remembered images," Fujimura said. "We can use it to forgive or we can become bitter. Our imagination can rewire how we view ourselves and our past."
Fujimura used the example of an ancient Kintsugi tea bowl to describe this generation of students. The bowl, "if broken, would be saved sometimes for generations, to be repaired by artisans using a lavish technique with gold … A bowl mended with gold is actually more valuable than before it broke."
Fujimura said this "Kintsugi generation" is traumatized from living in a time of school shootings, terrorist threats, political and social discord and scandals. He urged graduates to stay on the path of creating life and abundance, saying artists know that creation gives the opportunity to discard fear when building something new.
Judson also presented distinguished academic awards for excellence and leadership to select students: Chris Britton of Rockford, Aria Gabrielle Childers of Rockford, Taylor Hiland of New Palestine, Illinois, and Anna Wendling of Kaneville, Illinois.