Rev. James Tinnemeyer, former student dean and chaplain of Waynesburg University, returned to Greene County campus Sunday morning to address the 2021 senior year.
“Standing here in front of you this morning feels like coming home to me,” he said. “I felt it the moment I came over the ridge and saw Waynesburg spread out in front of me because this is a place I love, with people I really love.”
Tinnemeyer, who had also served as vice president of student services and adjunct professor of Bible and ministry studies and university chaplain, was part of the three personal graduation ceremonies on the Miller Hall Sunday lawn.
Tinnemeyer, now pastor of the Southminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, delivered a keynote address during the Christian University’s opening ceremony at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 4:00 pm encouraging students that success “in the real world” is achieved through love for other people can be.
He said the biblical teachings on what life is about “are so radically different from what the world offers”.
Exactly 30 years ago, said Tinnemeyer, he was sitting where these graduates were, ready to slide the tassel on his hat to the other side. He said he was the recipient of comments like “Are you ready for the real world?” He challenged students to think about what their “real world” is and what it means to be successful in it.
“We live in a time when we are encouraged to pack everything, look out for number 1 and put ourselves first,” said Tinnemeyer. “But you and I are not defined by it. We are ultimately defined by how much we love others. “
More than 400 undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students from the Waynesburg campus and its Southpointe location were honored at the opening ceremonies spread over the weekend. Graduates, faculty and guests wore masks and took part in socially distant ceremonies.
The services were also broadcast live on the university’s website and students who were unable to attend in person were virtually recognized on a large screen in the meadow.
One of the parting speakers, Joshua Miller, spoke about some of the challenges this year.
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by new and unfamiliar situations, and many of us have been exhausted from this pandemic – emotionally, socially, and academically – but we have remained steadfast on our path to success,” he said. “The future is brighter because the 2021 Waynesburg University class can forever share their experience, wisdom and perseverance with future generations.”