Dilys Brooks, associate chaplain at Loma Linda University, challenged graduates to stay close to God as they move through their careers.

Loma Linda University's 18th annual Diversity Consecration service took place May 19.

Loma Linda University Health’s 18th Diversity Consecration service honored the educational accomplishments of diverse and first-generation graduates from the university’s eight professional schools.

The annual service recognizes the work by students who have overcome a variety of historic or cultural obstacles to achieve their education and career goals. This year’s event took place in Randal Amphitheater on May 19.

“Our campus diversity is a real strength as we develop mutual understanding through the learning opportunities that happen each day,” said Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, Loma Linda University Health president. “This service allows us to take special notice of what this means to our students, their families and friends.”

Two student organizations serve as resources for minority and first-generation students—the Black Health Professional Student Association, and the Association of Latin American Students. Both groups provide academic, spiritual, social and ethnocultural support as students complete their professional programs.

“To the parents of these students, you sacrificed a lot. You continually motivated you children and kept them pushing forward,” said Obed Martinez, sponsor of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS). “We congratulate you parents for the support and motivation you have given your kids.

Dilys Brooks, associate chaplain for Loma Linda University, reminded the graduates that they have been following in the footsteps of students who have come to the university for more than 100 years for preparation to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

“And yet, what you and I are called to do in this world we cannot do on our own,” Brooks said. “We need to decide if we are going to depend on our own strength or on God’s.”

Relating the biblical story of Gideon (Judges 6), Brooks reminded the students that God promised to be with Gideon.

“We are going to a world that is combative, troubled, fragmented, diverse, and maybe unwelcoming to you,” Brooks said. “But, like God told Gideon, you have exactly what you need. There are places you can go that I can’t go. There are things you can say that I can’t say. Because your history, and the flesh you came into this world with, matters.

Students received a medallion to wear during their upcoming graduation services, carrying the message “Consecrated for a life of service.”

“I pray that when you leave this place, that you will remember the words on that medallion and make a difference,” said Terry Swenson, Loma Linda University chaplain.