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Chair of the Board of Trustees Honors Class of 2024 and Cornerstone University

News May 17, 2024

“Congratulations on your graduation!”

On May 4, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 380 excited graduates from the Class of 2024 were enthusiastically greeted by Cornerstone University’s Chair of the Board of Trustees Dr. Richard Koole. In recognition of a historic 82nd Commencement and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Koole welcomed graduates, exclaiming:

“We are delighted that we can call you alumni from this day forward!”

 

On this special day long anticipated by graduates and their families, he thanked students for choosing Cornerstone University as their destination of choice to complete their education. And he applauded parents and families for their significant supporting role in their student’s achievements. The chair proudly noted that about half of the Board are alumni of Cornerstone University. Dr. Koole passionately affirmed that the full Board is united around the university’s mission-driven vision:

“We have a desire to make sure that Cornerstone maintains itself as a Christ-honoring Christian college. We are a Christian college without apology.”

He described his role in supporting the university as a young seminary student, recounting opportunities to expand his leadership and service capabilities even as a sophomore. He earned a Bachelor of Religious Education from Cornerstone and continued his visionary contributions to the university by joining the Board in 2012. Dr. Koole accepted the chair of the executive committee in 2023. The beloved senior pastor of LifePointe Church in California also holds a master’s and a doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University

Cornerstone University is grateful to Dr. Koole and the Christ-honoring investment of the Board of Trustees into its gospel mission and the lives of students, alumni and the newly graduated Class of 2024 alumni.

The university is honored to continue to prepare the next generation of visionary Christian leaders and citizens in Grand Rapids Michigan and beyond. Men and women who are educated with truth, knowledge, skill, character and wisdom and who boldly live out the character of Jesus Christ in the marketplace and in every sphere of influence.

Cornerstone University invites you to watch Dr. Koole’s powerful message in the three-minute video or read the transcript below. To view the full ceremony, visit the Commencement webpage for a recording of the 2024 ceremony and event resources.

Full transcript of Dr. Koole’s remarks, lightly edited for clarity.

Congratulations on your graduation and also a big thank you. You could have gone anywhere, and you chose Cornerstone University, and we are thankful, we are delighted that we can call you alumni from this day forward, and we will talk more about that later. I also want to thank the parents that made this happen. Without them, it would have been a hard, hard struggle. Parents, thank you. You’re seated with us today. We applaud you for your involvement in these kids.

We have more board members up here. I’m proud to say that about half of the members of the board of trustees are alumni. They came up through the system. We’ve got young ones, younger ones, old ones, and older ones. And we have a desire to make sure that Cornerstone maintains itself as a Christ-honoring Christian college. We are a Christian college without apology, and we stand alone in the midst of a lot of stuff that’s going on. But it’s so delightful to have a united board with a president that we believe in his vision, and we can’t wait to see what God’s going to do with us the next day.

I started out as a sophomore, and I got to know the then president, Dr. W. Wilbert Welch. He’s got a bell tower out there. He was really the founder. He took an interest in me when I was a sophomore. I got asked to be the chairman of the student project to start a radio station, an on campus one. I didn’t know what to do. He said, “Well, you’ve got to raise the money.” I said, “I don’t know how to raise money.” He said, “Let me show you how.” And he was a pro at that. Under his guidance, we raised the money, and God has used that ministry through the years.

As I got to know him better. I remember once he called me and he said, “Rick, I’m going to go out and preach, and I’m not well. I don’t feel good. I want you to come along.”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “If I don’t make it through the sermon, finish my message. Finish.”

I said, “Can I see your notes?”

He said, “You just need to listen real carefully.”

Well, he got through it, but afterwards he said, “I’m serious about finishing my message.”

That was 56 years ago.

He said, “You’re going to be around a lot longer than me, and you need to finish the message of being a Christ-honored, conservative college.”

Little did I know that someday I would be standing here as chairman of the board.

We have been so delighted with our new president as we look at how he is transforming the school and we look to the future. I said to him yesterday as we had lunch, “Cornerstone is becoming the school I always hoped it would be, and I’m delighted.”

Check out social media for highlights of the celebrations!

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