“Celebrating Couples” at December Commencement

December 13, 2017

By Bob Holmes

The casual observer at the Columbia International University commencement may have just thought it coincidence when two people with the same last name crossed the stage of Shortess Chapel one right after the other. But Malcolm Campbell and Patricia Campbell are married, and both received their bachelor degrees at CIU’s December commencement; Malcolm’s in Church Ministry and Patricia’s in Youth Ministry, Family & Culture.

“It feels good. It’s an accomplishment. We don’t have to wait on each other,” said Malcolm as the couple hugged family members at a reception in the CIU Dining Hall.

Future plans for the couple include Malcolm enrolling in the CIU online MBA program while he continues building his personal training business and works at his church.

When Patricia was asked about the future she noted three Campbells had actually crossed the stage.

“I’m having a baby in the spring!” Patricia said with a big smile. She also has plans to enroll in CIU’s graduate Counseling program.

Across the room, Andrew Hampshire and Lexi Evans were just beginning what would be a very busy weekend. They were celebrating their bachelor degrees and looking ahead to the next day — their wedding day. They had been dating since their second month at school as freshmen.

“We met here at CIU so it’s really special that we get to celebrate our time at CIU and our relationship all in one weekend,” Evans said.

Andrew will be using his degree in Intercultural Studies and Lexi her degree in Music as they settle in Orlando, Florida to minister through Cru, an evangelism and discipleship ministry.

Meanwhile, CIU Education Professor Dr. Mark McCann stood along a wall, taking in the celebrations. A warm smile was on his face. He explained there is deep satisfaction in knowing he played a part in many of the graduates’ success, including for some, marriage.

“There is one (graduate) who is getting married over Christmastime, (and) they asked (my wife and me) to do the pre-marriage counseling with them,” McCann said.

McCann adds that no matter whether the graduates are married or single, he will always be available to them.

“We always make an invitation to them that no matter where they go, they can always send us a text or email that simply says, ‘can you pray for me at this time, on this day?’ and they don’t have to tell me what it is, and we’ll pray. We keep in touch.” 

Hear the commencement address from CIU alumnus Dr. Ryan Pack, pastor of Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Columbia on Chapel podcasts