On a wind-swept, chilly Mother's Day, Lycoming College Class of 2010 graduates - about 275 of them - heard an ordained Methodist minister and educator encourage use of their imagination, execution and perseverance and to not take themselves too seriously.
"I hope you go forth from here awakened and stirred," said the Rev. Dr. L. Gregory Jones, dean and professor of theology at Duke University Divinity School, the keynote speaker for the 162nd commencement ceremony on the college's quad.
A word is desperately in need for new imagination and thought processes, he said, urging graduates to go forth with an "ability to see things one might not be able to see."
Four Lycoming College graduates lead the processional while being applauded by faculty during the college’s 162nd commencement held on the campus flag court Sunday afternoon.
That was done, he said, by a woman in Burundi, who watched as those around her were slaughtered in a brutal civil war years ago.
Rather than collapsing, the woman - who survived the attacks - began a school for children, opened a health clinic and built a swimming pool on the same grounds as the massacre.
The cleansing waters, she believed, would be a place for the "imagination" of the children to flourish, Jones said.
Today, the village has a movie theater and a hospital.
"Love made her an inventor," Jones said.
Execution was another mantra Jones suggested to be followed.
"Put your shoulder to the wheel, do the hard work, persevere and (do) not give up in order to make those dreams a reality," he said. "Be sure to deliver on your promises."
Don't become a premature cynic and don't forget to laugh, Jones said.
"Don't take yourself too seriously," he told the graduates.
He cited a passage by Muhammad Yunas, a professor of economics who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his idea of microcredits, loans for those too poor to go to traditional banks but who had the entrepreneurial spirit in them to succeed.
"Yunas said, 'Whatever you do, do it with joy,' '' Jones said. "If whatever you do isn't filled with laughter and joy, it isn't worth doing."
Jones also had some kind words for mothers in the audience: "A special congratulations to you."
Since 1997, Jones has served as the 11th dean of Duke Divinity School and, since 2008, as the president and CEO of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Jones, the author or editor of 13 books, including the acclaimed "Embodying Forgiveness" and, most recently, "Everyday Matters: Intersections of Life and Faith," co-authored "Resurrecting Excellence: Shaping Faithful Christian Ministry."
He writes a regular column, "Faith Matters," for The Christian Century magazine, where he also is an editor-at-large. Jones, who has published more than 100 articles in a variety of publications, also regularly writes reflections for "Faith & Leadership."
For 10 years he was co-editor of Modern Theology, a scholarly journal published by Blackwells in Oxford, England, and he serves as an associate editor for the journal.
He and his wife, the Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, have written several units and the accompanying videos for United Methodist Publishing House's new "Living the Good Life Together" series.
They have three children, Nathan, Ben and Sarah.