Lubbock Christian University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony had a total of nine international students from five continents receive their diploma on Saturday, May 3. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, the graduated international students excelled academically at LCU. Three of those students were involved in honors, and over half graduated cum laude or higher. Parents of the students flew to Lubbock from Argentina, Indonesia, South Africa, and Spain to see their son or daughter graduate from LCU. The rest of the international students had family watching the ceremony live online from Cameroon, Canada, Jamaica, Scotland, and South Korea.
Jeremy Rim from Surabaya, Indonesia, always dreamed of studying in the United States. He discovered LCU through Eli360, a Christian organization that helps international students study in America. When Rim first arrived in Lubbock, he was overwhelmed by the friendliness of strangers stopping to greet him. Rim began making friends by hanging out by the pool table in the LCU men’s residential hall, Johnson Hall. He eventually became accustomed to the culture and involved himself in the men’s social club Sub-T 16, in the LCU Symphonic Band, and in the Behavioral Science Society.
“LCU is a great place to study, not just to gain knowledge but also to learn about life,” says Rim. “The teachers and staff are there to build a relationship and help you in any ways possible. Fellow students are kind to each other, and life-long friendships will be made. LCU is not just a school, it is a family.”
Rim’s mother arrived in Lubbock on Thursday to attend her son’s graduation. Rim graduated Cum Laude with his Psychology degree on Saturday. He plans to pursue a master’s in pastoral counseling while in America, and hopes to one day become a youth minister at his home congregation in Indonesia.
Grace Kang from Seoul, South Korea, also heard of LCU through Eli360. Transitioning into an American culture wasn’t as difficult as Kang was expecting due to LCU’s welcoming atmosphere. Kang became involved in the honors program and in the women’s social club Zeta Gamma. She worked in the Rec Center and as a residential advisor for the women’s residence hall, Katie Rogers. Throughout her involvement on campus and through the friendships she made, Kang found herself blossoming into a more confident woman.
“LCU has taught me to be okay with who I am,” Kang explains. “I was a person who didn’t like a challenge or to try new things. Through my experience at LCU I learned that there is more I can gain from the challenge if I don’t hide from the difficulties.”
Kang received her degree in early childhood education at LCU and she hopes to stay in the states to gain teaching experience for a few years. She eventually wants to move to another country to teach children who deserve a better education.
Timothy Haywood, an exercise sports science graduate from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, heard about LCU through a friend who was considering studying internationally. When Haywood decided to look at schools internationally as well, he was so impressed with the way LCU treated him that he signed on to play soccer as a Chaparral.
“LCU has afforded me the opportunity to better myself personally and professionally with an amazing faculty and education system,” says Haywood.
To help transition into a new culture, Haywood found mentorship from his ESS professor, Darrell Price. Price’s constant presence in Haywood’s life, along with the personal and spiritual advice he offered, impacted Haywood’s time here. When it came time for Haywood to select someone to hood him at his graduation ceremony, Price was a natural selection for this honored position when Haywood’s parents could not make the journey from Jamaica. Haywood hopes to become a soccer coach in New Hampshire until he finds a permanent job in the field of exercise and sports science.
Kaitlyn Wilhoit grew up in Yokosuka, Japan, with her missionary family. Wilhoit decided to make a stop at LCU to see her parent’s alma mater for Master Follies while she was in the states to interview at a different university.
“While visiting I was able to get a tour of campus and look at the education building,” says Wilhoit. “Something stuck out and felt right about LCU.”
Having grown up on military bases her whole life, it took Wilhoit a while to adjust to the new culture. She involved herself in honors and wrote for the school newspaper, The Duster Today, but it was her experience with the women’s social club, Christliche Damen, that broke her out of her shell and helped her gain confidence. Wilhoit’s parents, LCU alums Walter and Rashell Wilhoit, flew in for their daughter’s graduation from Spain where they are now positioned. Wilhoit is engaged to be married to Scott Hall in June, and she hopes to find a teaching position in the area.
Other international graduates include: accounting graduate, Eliette Yango from Litorall, Camaroon; finance graduate, Niel Du Preez from Queenstown, South Africa; finance graduate, Facundo Masjoan from Cordoba, Argentina; finance graduate, Nicholas Gorrie from Kilmarnock, Scotland; and exercise sports science graduate, Joel Lutz from Alberto, Canada.
Lubbock Christian University has more than 2000 students and is a four-year private master's level institution that promotes unique educational opportunities with a strategic focus on student success in four key areas: spiritual formation, intellectual growth, personal stewardship and leadership development. Degree programs are offered for both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. For over 55 years, the school has offered academic excellence in a Christian environment. For more information about Lubbock Christian University visit their website at www.lcu.edu.