California Baptist University graduates largest class ever

May 07, 2011 - Riverside, CA

 California Baptist University (CBU) graduated a record number of students at the University’s spring commencement ceremonies on May 6 and 7, breaking the 1,000-graduate mark for the third time in the university’s 61-year history.

Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU President, conferred degrees on a total of 667 undergraduates and 247graduate students over the weekend.  Another 233 students were eligible to graduate at the December 2010 commencement ceremony, bringing the year’s total number of graduates to 1,147.  This figure represents the largest number of graduates during a single year.

Saturday's undergraduate program marked the first ever graduating class from the School of Engineering, with 24 students receiving bachelor of science degrees in civil, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.

During graduate ceremonies Friday evening, Dr. Steven E. Larson, CEO and chairman of the Board of Riverside Medical Clinic, offered professional and personal lessons for success, emphasizing the importance of wise and deliberate choices with one’s professional status in mind.

“Remember, that as a professional you represent yourself, your school and your profession,” Larson said.

Larson also urged the graduates “to choose service as a way of life” to achieve a meaningful and happy life.” He added, “As caring professionals you will have countless opportunities for service to others.  Embrace it and make it your life’s work.”

Undergraduate ceremonies featured former CBU student Kay Warren, a noted author and activist on behalf of victims of HIV-AIDS.  She offered words of encouragement and caution based on the words of Moses recorded in the Book of Deuteronomy, to the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.

“Moses first warns them against getting entangled with the false gods of Canaan, but then he gives an unexpected warning:  he urges them to remember where their success comes from – God – and to not grow proud and forgetful of God in the middle of the delights of the Promised Land… Success and failure are equally perilous challenges to navigate,” Warren said.

Quoting Moses from Deuteronomy 31:6, 8, Warren concluded with the following promise: “Be strong and courageous…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

President Ellis conferred honorary doctorates on Larson and Warren as part of the dual commencement proceedings.

Tracy Ellingsen, provided the undergraduate address to her fellow graduates. She served as an U.S. Army journalist for seven years before enrolling at CBU.  Recalling her first day on campus she was reminded of how the “power of a pleasant greeting” quelled her anxiety as a new student.

Reading 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6, she urged her fellow graduates to model the church of Thessalonica for their reception of the Gospel’s power and the Holy Spirit’s influence on their lives.

“Our credibility will not come from degrees alone, but through our lives of love and service,” Ellingson said.

The CBU graduate plans to serve as a U.S. Army chaplain.