Nearly 1,500 friends, family and supporters who attended the Arizona Christian University 2012 Commencement on May 12, 2012 at Scottsdale Bible Church were able to celebrate the accomplishments of 94 graduates and hear a challenging message from U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl.

Sen. Kyl, listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, spoke about his own faith and cited a number of passages of Scripture in his message, which was taped by C-SPAN for a national television broadcast later this summer.  Sen. Kyl strong encouraged graduates to work hard at whatever they were doing, as hard work, discipline and preparation would serve them no matter where God called them.

President Len Munsil delivered a charge to the graduates, urging them to set aside cynicism about the future and the economy and embrace the opportunity God has given them in this generation to shine as lights in the midst of a dark world.

Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Gary Damore led the processional with a ceremonial mace hand-crafted by Biblical Studies Chairman Dr. Jerry Burnette. The mace symbolizes the degree-granting authority of Arizona Christian University.

At a reception on Friday evening on the campus of ACU, graduating seniors were honored with a variety of awards representing excellence in academics, athletics, music and leadership. The following students were recognized:

Outstanding Student in Behavioral Studies: Brittney Meyer
Outstanding Student in Biblical Studies: Anne Munsil
Outstanding Student in Business Administration: Oscar Ortiz Gonzalez
Outstanding Student in Business Administration (DCP): Stephen Szoradi
Outstanding Student in Christian Ministries: Tyler Brown
Outstanding Student in Christian Service: Dakota Smith
Outstanding Student in Education: Brett Bowman
Outstanding Student in Music: Anna Engstrom
Servant Leader awards: Jarrod Blair, Brett Bowman, Tyler Brown, Bethany Fillingame, Anne Munsil
Students Nominated to ACU Honor Society: Jarrod Blair, Brett Bowman, and Brittney Meyer
Outstanding Dramatic Performance: Jessica Stuhan
Outstanding Instrumentalist: Tyler Adair
Outstanding Vocalist: Nicole Pablo
Outstanding Female Athlete: Meredith Oistad
Outstanding Male Athlete: Joshua Cole
Scholar Athlete: Anne Munsil

At the close of the evening, President Munsil announced that the Board of Trustees approved providing graduating seniors with a free iPad if they joined the ACU Alumni Association – a $50 commitment — by May 18.