Davenport University celebrates its graduates

On Sunday, more than 1,300 graduates were honored at Davenport University’s 158th commencement ceremony at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. 

The graduates, who ranged in age from 18 to 68, hailed from 38 states and eight different countries. They proudly accepted degrees in business, technology, the arts and sciences, health and urban education.

“This ceremony is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and determination by our graduates,” said Dr. Richard J. Pappas, president of Davenport. “We are honored to have them walk across the stage to accept their diplomas, and we celebrate their accomplishments along with their families and friends.”

Pappas went on to say that every student at Davenport has a story to tell about the obstacles they’ve overcome and the challenges they’ve faced.

One such student is Brytani Wright. She completed her degree in business with an outstanding academic record while juggling a full-time job and raising a family. During her pursuit of a college education, she overcame significant life circumstances that delayed her college completion by six years. 

“Our journey to this moment has been marked by resilience, perseverance, and the unwavering support of the Davenport community,” said Wright as she addressed the graduates. “Together, we have weathered the storms of uncertainty and navigated the challenges of a global pandemic while pursuing our academic goals. Throughout it all, the Davenport team stood by our side.”

Wright challenged the graduates to continue to embody the courage, determination, and resilience that brought them to this momentous occasion.

“As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, let us remember that greatness is not measured by the absence of challenges but by our ability to rise above them,” she said. 

Keynote speaker Kent Riddle, president and CEO of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, received an honorary doctorate in business for his successful and long-term leadership before addressing the crowd. 

Riddle said he hoped his words would inspire each graduate to leverage their education and skills to continually make a positive impact on others.

He urged those in attendance to emulate M.E. Davenport and his motto to make a living, make a life, and make a contribution to society. 

Riddle also shared a very important piece of advice with the graduates as they prepare to step out into the world. “The best habit that leads to success is to lift up and inspire others in every interaction,” said Riddle. “If you do that and do it consistently, you will be a huge success in your career, your life, and the community.”

To view a recording of the commencement ceremony, click here. 




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