Spurgeon’s College Celebrates Graduation Ceremony For Class Of 2023, Awarding Its First Degree

Spurgeon’s College, based in South Norwood and one of the UK’s leading Christian Colleges, has celebrated the graduating class of 2023 with a ceremony and commissioning service at Trinity Baptist Church in Croydon, which included honorary Chancellor Rick Warren providing a virtual address to graduands.

The College was delighted to welcome 63 students who successfully completed their academic studies and were eligible to graduate on Saturday 8 July. The ceremony was an opportunity for the College to recognise the fantastic academic and social achievements of these students during their time at Spurgeon’s. This year’s graduation also marked the 100th anniversary of the College’s move to South Norwood Hill in Croydon, making it a particularly poignant ceremony for the College, its students and alumni. The College was pleased to welcome members of the Croydon Council – including the elected Mayor Jason Perry and Deputy Civic Mayor Cllr Appu Srinivasan – alongside families and friends to celebrate the College’s graduands.

For the first time, the College was also able to award full degrees in its own name to students, following the decision by the Office for Students (OfS) in 2022 to award the College Full Taught Degree Awarding Powers. The first degree awarded by the College was a posthumous Master of Theology degree to Charles Spurgeon, in recognition of his incredible contribution to literature, evangelism and charitable work creating 66 charities, three of which continue today: Spurgeons (Together with Families), London Baptist Association and Spurgeon’s College.

Vice-Chancellor of Spurgeon’s College, Rev Professor Philip McCormack said:

We were delighted to be able to hold our graduating ceremony earlier this month, recognising the incredible work and achievements of our graduating students. They have each shown remarkable perseverance, engaging with their studies while also contributing to the local community, and we now warmly welcome them as Spurgeon’s College alumni. 

On the 100th year anniversary of the College’s move to Croydon, the celebration also marked the perfect opportunity to award our first degree posthumously to Charles Spurgeon’s – whose legacy and contribution to the life of the Baptist family here in the UK and around the world is incalculable. We were honoured that our Chancellor, Rick Warren – a direct descendant of an alumni of Spurgeon’s College – was able to join us virtually to present the award and recognise our fantastic students on the day.

Chair of the College’s Governors, Professor Sir Les Ebdon said:

I want to congratulate all our students who graduated earlier this month. Our theology and counselling graduates have worked hard and shown determination and commitment to reach this point, and we honour and congratulate them on what they have accomplished.

This graduation marked a special anniversary in the life of the College, with 2023 being the 100th anniversary of the College moving to South Norwood Hill. It was also the first graduation since, in September last year, Spurgeon’s became the first theological college in the UK to have the same awarding and validating powers as every university in the UK. We recognise that this is not the achievement of one generation of College staff but the result of generations of faithful and dedicated former members of staff whose commitment and service laid the foundation for the success the College and its students have achieved.

Written by: Jack Bell

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