Northwestern College to award 377 diplomas during May 8 commencement ceremony

Northwestern College will award degrees to 377 students during its annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8. Master of Education degrees will be presented to 129 students; another 219 will receive Bachelor of Arts degrees; and 29, Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

An additional three students will receive certificates of completion as graduates of the Northwestern NEXT program, a two-year campus life and learning experience for 18- to 22-year-olds with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Because of COVID-19, both Northwestern’s commencement and baccalaureate will be held in the Rowenhorst Student Center. Tickets and masks will be required, and seating will be limited to allow for physical distancing between attendees.

Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8. Glenn Van Ekeren, president of Vetter Health Services, will give the commencement address. The baccalaureate service will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 7, with Mark DeYounge, dean of Christian formation, delivering the homily.

Van Ekeren is a 1974 graduate of Northwestern College who spent 20 years as the director of people development at Village Northwest Unlimited, an organization that serves individuals with disabilities. Since 1999, he has been the president of Vetter Health Services, which owns and operates 30 long-term care facilities in the Midwest.

An accomplished motivational speaker and trainer, Van Ekeren shares his wisdom in a blog available at, as well as in a podcast titled “Little Leadership Lessons … From an Old Guy.” He is the author of books that include the “12 Simple Secrets” series, “Love Is a Verb,” and “Tinker,” “Celebrate” and “Playbook,” which focus on challenging the status quo, living the life you’ve imagined, and strategies for being a standout performer.