News • May 11, 2021

CBU celebrates 2020 graduates with in-person ceremonies

CBU celebrates 2020 graduates with in-person ceremonies

Riverside, Calif. (May 10, 2021) – Carolina Saucedo earned her Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies from California Baptist University in 2020. On May 10, she took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate in a live commencement, with her two young children watching in the crowd.

“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to walk across the stage. I wanted my kids to see that so that they understood what all the hard work was for,” Saucedo said.

CBU held commencement ceremonies to give the 2020 graduates an opportunity to walk across the stage. Due to the pandemic, the graduates had been celebrated in December with a virtual commencement. More than 780 graduates took part in the four ceremonies on the Front Lawn on May 7 and 10. This was after four days of ceremonies for the 2021 spring graduates.

In his commencement address, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, acknowledged the difficulties the graduates faced and their perseverance through a pandemic.

CBU celebrates 2020 graduates with in-person ceremonies

“Even though sacrifices were made, your true character was exemplified, and the relentless pursuit of your educational goals was steadfast. You manifested what it means to Live Your Purpose,” Ellis said. “We congratulate each one of you! The faculty and the entire university family join me in saying we are proud of you and we pray God’s blessings upon you.”

Ellis encouraged the graduates to lean on the lessons learned at CBU in the future.

“May you move forward with the same resolve that has guided you to this joyful day of celebration,” Ellis said. “May your CBU experience and your CBU degree serve as solid building blocks in a sturdy foundation for all your ambitions and dreams.”

CBU celebrates 2020 graduates with in-person ceremoniesMariah Despyne earned a Master in Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and is working as a human resources administrative assistant.

“Obviously, I know I finished school and I have my degree but being able to walk across the stage and hear my name while wearing the cap and gown really finalizes everything,” Despyne said.

Francesca Vallejo, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, works as a mental health counselor at a psychiatric hospital. She said she had to overcome obstacles and trials along the way to getting her degree, so she was grateful for the chance to walk.

“The classes that I took intertwined with the Christian faith and the professors were outstanding. They helped me every step of the way,” Vallejo said. “It gave me not only experience but the tools I needed to be successful, do my job properly and serve the community the way that they should be served. I feel like I am serving my purpose.”

During the ceremonies, CBU recognized the efforts of several students who achieved excellence in their academic accomplishments. Lauren Oliver received the Outstanding Online and Professional Studies Student of 2020 Award. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. Henry David Leon Du, a student from Guatemala, received the Min Sung Kim International Student Award. This award is presented each year to a CBU international student who has made outstanding contributions to the CBU community. Du earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Michaela Marie Miller was the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Senior Award. Miller graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, Ellis presented honorary degrees to the family a faculty member who passed away earlier this year. The family of Daniel Robinson, assistant professor of education, received a Doctor of Humane Letters.

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8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504