Mr. Leighton Kuss’ Graduation Address
On Friday December 11th we were thrilled to celebrate another cohort of amazing CHC graduates. We are so proud of everything they have achieved and look forward to cheering for them, and praying for them, as they set into their next chapter.
At our graduation ceremony we had the honour of CHC Alumni, Principal Leighton Kuss, give the graduation address. We wanted to share his wisdom, encouragement and anecdotes with you here.
(Mr. Kuss is the Principal of Northside Christian School in Brisbane and an alumnus of CHC (B.Ed.)
Good evening – special to celebrate with Graduates – recognizing all your hard work and dedication.
As a fellow CHC graduate, I have many fond memories of these graduation ceremonies, .… I’ve been where you are.
26 years ago I was seated right over there and a few years later, I was on stage as part of the faculty, to celebrate with my wife Liz, as she followed her nursing degree with a CHC teaching degree. Tonight as your family and friends, faculty and fellow alumni, we celebrate with you and say well done!
I asked President Trudel what she might like me to speak about tonight and she suggested the topic, how CHC has impacted me.
Well, I stand before you today to let you know that the College Purpose of ‘Transforming People to Transform their World’ is what still stands out for me.
Since graduating, CHC has transformed me. It transformed my Thinking, it transformed my Faith and it transformed my Career.
Today you might be thinking about your future and the career you are about to embark on. If so, Martin Luther King Jnr had some good advice about this. He said,
Your work should have LENGTH, something you get better at over a lifetime.
It should have BREADTH, It should touch many people.
And, it should have HEIGHT, It should put you in the service to some ideal and satisfy the soul’s yearning for righteousness.
A CHC education prepares you well to realise Dr King’s counsel, of attaining Length, Breadth and Height in your life.
Since my post-grad studies here at CHC, I have been able to study at Buckingham, Harvard and Oxford and I can say the personal input I received here at CHC was absolutely world class.
I am not alone in this belief. Just this week I received a message from a fellow CHC Alumnus, after I commented on LinkedIn that anyone looking for a world class education should look at CHC for the New Year. Michael Wren wrote back and said,
As a graduate from this College, can I say, it has provided me with some amazing and unique insights, with an approach to people and education I have never found in any other institution. They pride themselves on placing CHRISTIANITY at the centre of their culture and make this a reality.
President Trudel, what great affirmation for the College. Graduates, what confirmation that you chose well with your ALMA MATER – Christian Heritage College.
My firm belief is that CHC is not just a great College, but a place where lives are transformed.
My CHC transformation began as a staff member, when I met an overseas guest of the College, back in the early days, when the College was small and located downstairs, under the church.
Harro Van Brummelen was a writer and lecturer from Trinity Western University, Canada who wrote the classic textbook, ‘Walking with God in the Classroom’.
The book was great, but the person even better.
Over dinner, in a downstairs hallway of all places, with about 12 staff, Harro simply encouraged me to be God focused and God connected, in every small moment of my classes and with each student. My transformation had begun, and
If you are looking to add Martin Luther King’s concept of Length to your career, I point you to follow Harro’s clear advice to stay connected with GOD.
Emeritus Professor Brian Millis, Founding College Principal, was also there that evening, and my wife and I had the privilege of teaching Brian and Mary’s girls while they were at school.
Brian is a man of vision, determination and courage, he also had many prominent roles and titles, complemented by his tireless founders’ spirit.
To the amusement of the College staff (my colleagues), when I was also a student, and in the final rush to submit an assignment via the yellow paper submission folder as we had to back then, I misspelt Brian’s name as BRAIN Millis. I got over the embarrassment and truth be told, Brian indeed was blessed with an enormous intellect.
However beyond Brian’s intelligence, he mirrored Dr King’s concept of adding Height to your life, by satisfying the soul’s thirst for righteousness.
What do I mean by this?
Well I distinctly recall Brian returning from a local church conference radiant with God’s presence. Everyone who met him… everyone, was quick to notice and share that Brian was a new man, a transformed man, in God.
Brian was humble, but shared with me his experience and the importance of staying open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This was my second CHC transforming moment. And…
As you look to add Dr King’s notion of Height to your life, can I suggest you follow Brian’s example of the transforming power that comes when you stay open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Dr King’s final notion of adding Breadth to your life is possibly best explained by a story from Martin Luther King’s own life.
We all know Dr King’s famous, ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. If you visit the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington D.C. you can find a plaque where he stood and delivered that amazing aria. The speech he prepared for that day was planned to be brief. This was deliberate, so as not to incite civil unrest among the 250 000 supporters who surrounded the Lincoln Memorial.
As Dr King finished his prepared remarks and turned to sit down, he abruptly turned back to the crowd. The great gospel singer and his friend, Mahalia Jackson had blurted from behind him, “Tell them about your dream Martin, Tell ‘em about your dream”. And Martin Luther King did. In a decade in which cataclysmic events inspired lasting oratory, he delivered one of the greatest speeches in modern history.
Why, because Mahalia Jackson had heard the heart of her friend more times than she could recount. That great speech came from the heart, on the spur of the moment, and reminds me that if we aspire to have Dr King’s concept of Breadth in our lives, we need to surround ourselves with good and godly people, people who know what is in our hearts.
Graduates of 2020, (I have a dream too).
CHC transformed me and I believe it will continue to transform you.
Can I encourage you –
Stay connected to God
Stay open to God’s Holy Spirit, and,
Surround yourself with good and godly people.
As you do, I pray that
Your work will have Length, getting ever better throughout your career!
That it will have Breadth, as you touch many thousands of people, and,
That your life will have Height, as you serve our great God!
Love and prayers to you all, and again,
Congratulations on graduating!