BGU’s 2023 Graduation Ceremony

The BGU 2023 Graduation Ceremony was the most special graduation ceremony ever! We celebrated God’s glory in the diversity of 35 graduates from 15 different countries. Not only were the graduates’ cultures and countries of origin diverse (represented by 15 flags on display), but in the diversity of their research focuses and the diversity of their calling as transformational leaders throughout the world.

The most unique time took place at the beginning of the ceremony, when the Chair of the Board of Directors, Mr. Jack vanHartesvelt, together with the other members of the Board of Directors, honored the incoming BGU President, Dr. Bryan McCabe with the emblems of the Bakke Graduate University: A chain with BGU’s medallion and an embroidered scarf. Dr. Bryan McCabe, 46, is now BGU’s president, replacing Dr. Brad Smith, 64, who led BGU as a president for the past 20 years. This was a powerful demonstration of servant leadership that prepares a younger generation of leaders to guide BGU through the global opportunities and challenges of the post-Covid 21st century. This was a time of thankfulness for Dr. Brad Smith’s leadership through the ebbs and flows of the last 20 years of BGU, but also a time of hope as BGU embarks on a new journey to scale its influence to the next level under Dr. Bryan McCabe’s leadership.

The ceremony continued with a celebration of the BGU graduates. Dr. Bryan McCabe gave the commencement address, sharing some of his childhood and young leader memories and how God has used them to shape the urban leader that he is now. Referencing Colossians 3:12-17, he charged the graduates powerfully saying,

Let’s lead with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with each other when we work through the inevitable conflicts that come with leadership. Let’s model radical forgiveness in our divided world. Let love, harmony, peace, and thankfulness define our words and actions. Let’s immerse ourselves in the word of God, and worship together all the time. (…) My hope for each of our graduates today is that you will take everything that you learned at BGU and selflessly give what you’ve learned away. 

The auditorium was filled with family members and friends of the graduates who came as witnesses of each graduate’s achievements. Dr. Judi Melton called each candidate to come forward; Dr. Bruce Jackson awarded each with a BGU medallion, Dr. Yvonne McKenzie placed a hood on them, and each was handed their diploma by Dr. Bryan McCabe. A candle was lit for each graduate, whether present or in abstentia, symbolizing BGU’s vision for each of its leaders to be a beacon of light and hope in this world. A special prayer was pronounced for each graduate by Dr. Martine Audéoud that sought God’s anointing on the specific calling and/or research of each graduate. After Dr. Paulette Jordan gave her charge to the graduates, Dr. Scholastica Olagunju ended the ceremony with a beautiful song of worship. How else could we end, but to bring to our Lord Jesus Christ the honor and the glory for which He is uniquely worthy?!

Dear Reader, wherever you may be, whoever you may be, whatever your past experience and whatever your hope, Bakke Graduate University has a place for you:

  • a place where you can support a student (by prayer and financially – request information from Dr. Audéoud).

  • a place where you can encourage a staff member or a professor (by prayer, through your expertise, and financially – request information from Dr. Audéoud);

  • a place where you can pray for a specific person or situation (check BGU’s Prayer Requests); and

  • a place where you can be better equipped (review BGU’s programs at or certificates at

Will you join us in this new season?

Dr. Martine Audéoud

Academic Dean

Director of the Ph.D. Program

Phone and Whatsapp: +33 617 060 783