2017 Commencement


Bluffton graduates receive advice on happiness during 117th Commencement


The achievements of more than 230 undergraduate and graduate students were celebrated on Sunday, May 7, 2017, during the 117thCommencement ceremony at Bluffton University. Nearly 3,000 faculty, family members and friends filled Sommer Center to congratulate their accomplishments including Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman, president of Eastern Mennonite University, who shared humor and advice during her Commencement speech, “What’s in your Wallet?”

Using the long-running catch phrase “What’s in your wallet?” by credit card company Capital One, Huxman explained that it’s not really the stuff in your wallet that finally brings you happiness or success or even wholeness in life.

“Rather than focus on a wallet that’s overflowing with the right credit cards and the right business cards, how about we reframe the question this way: What’s in your heart? What’s in your head? What’s in your hands?” said Huxman. “The answer to these questions reveals the priceless reward points of Christian Liberal Arts education at Bluffton University.”

She then shared a message from St. Francis of Assisi.

“’Those who work with their hands are laborers. Those who work with their hands and their head are craftsmen. Those who work with their hands and their head and their heart, they are artists.’ He was right. The well-rounded graduate needs to work with all three because it enhances our ability to be artists in the broadest sense of that term and to see fully,” explained Huxman.

Huxman’s daughter, Emily Huxman, a communication and marketing double major was among the Bluffton graduates in the crowd. So over the years, Dr. Huxman has become familiar with Bluffton’s Power of Purple campaign. The campaign highlights how Bluffton brings people and things together for a greater purpose just as red and blue mix to create purple. Huxman shared examples of the Power of Purple in action at Bluffton.

“Like two sports and outstanding academics, like learning problem solving in the classroom and then practicing those problem-solving skills on a cross-cultural trip. Like spending time in the library and the Lion and Lamb center. Like combining two majors and a minor and still graduating in four years. Like leading chapel and leading tree planting efforts along Riley Creek. Like understanding your professors and coaches and other staff advisors are not just mentors to you for academic and athletic growth but also mentors to you for civic and spiritual growth,” said Huxman.

“What’s in your wallet?” Huxman asked one more time. “How about the Power of Purple?”

Earlier in the day, Gary Schiefer, associate professor of business, provided one last lecture for outgoing seniors during his Baccalaureate speech, “Just that Simple,” which focused on Mark 12:29-31 in which Jesus is asked which commandments are the most important.

Schiefer offered advice on how students can show their love for others. He suggested starting by sharing their time and energy.

“It is not happenstance that one of Bluffton’s core values is service to others. The list of ways to volunteer is endless. I would encourage the students who sang in the choir this morning to continue singing in their church choir. To our business students, I encourage you to volunteer so that your leadership abilities, your understanding of financial budgets and your marketing skills can be used to help guide your church and nonprofit organizations,” said Schiefer. “The most important thing is that you volunteer your talents, time and energy to the causes that matter most to you and to help other people.”

While Schiefer admitted most in attendance would not remember the bulk of his speech, he shared some parting words that are easy to remember.

“When you need guidance on how to live your life, you only need to remember two things. Love God, and love other people. It is just that simple.”