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Western Nevada College to have unique multi-faith Baccalaureate Service
Western Nevada College (WNC) will have unique Multi-faith Baccalaureate Service on May 20 in Carson City in the US, a first in its 41 plus years of existence. Hindu religious statesman Rajan Zed, a co-organizer of this service, alongwith Douglas Diversity Student Club of WNC; clergy belonging to Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i and Native American traditions will bless the graduates with their respective prayers in this Service. Dance and music will form part of this ceremony and a representative of non-believers will also address the Service.

Faith leaders participating include Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Community Carson City Pastor Father Charles T. Durante, Carson City 1st United Methodist Church Pastor Reverend Dixie Jennings-Teats, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Quorum of the Seventy Member George Marion Keele, Northern Nevada Muslim Community President Doctor Sherif A. Elfass, Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed, Reno Buddhist Center Priest Reverend Jikai’ Phil Bryan, South Lake Tahoe Temple Bat Yam Rabbi Evon J. Yakar, Baha’i teacher Catherine B. Thayer, and Paiute Elder Ralph E. Burns. Patrick J. McCarthy from Reno Freethinkers (atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists, etc., promoting secular values) will also address.

Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall, Carson City Mayor Robert L. Crowell and WNC President Doctor Carol A. Lucey will also render advice to the graduates on the occasion. Acclaimed classical musician from India Thakur Chakrapani Singh, prominent dancer Doctor L. Martina Young and well known area musician Jim R. Eaglesmith will also bless the graduating class through their respective mediums. Starting with traditional lamp lighting, it will also include a choir performance titled “Benediction” directed by James M. Weismann. It will close with diverse faith and other leaders, with their raised right hands, jointly repeating a universal prayer after Douglas Diversity Student Club of WNC Secretary Jesseca Pacheco Larios, thus blessing graduates who rise for the occasion.

Baccalaureate service basically means service where a sermon is delivered to the graduating class. In use since at least eighth century, origins of the baccalaureate service point to an Oxford University statute of 1432, which required each bachelor to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of the academic exercise. There is restored interest in baccalaureate services in number of educational institutions across the country like Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, etc.

WNC, with tagline "Start Here, Go Anywhere" and multiple campuses, is a comprehensive community college that serves over 5,000 students in about 18,000-square-miles area. Mission Statement of WNC includes "nurtures individual potential and respects differences", which is known for its observatory.

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