News • May 06, 2021

CBU concludes 2021 spring commencement ceremonies

CBU concludes 2021 spring commencement ceremonies

Riverside, Calif. (May 6, 2021) – California Baptist University wrapped up four days of celebration this week for spring 2021 commencement ceremonies held on the Front Lawn. Graduates received cheers in front of friends and family members at eight ceremonies May 3-6.

Combined applications for graduation for spring 2021 commencement ceremonies included four candidates for doctoral degrees, 624 for master’s degrees and 1,169 for bachelor’s degrees for a total of 1,797 applicants.

In his commencement address, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, said the ceremonies were an opportunity to celebrate the students’ hard work.

“It would be difficult to argue the fact that we are celebrating an exceptional group of graduates –– not only for California Baptist University, but for all time. For more than a year, the very definition of ‘normal’ has been reshaped and redefined repeatedly as you adapted in real time,” Ellis said.

CBU concludes 2021 spring commencement ceremonies

Ellis said the graduates were well prepared to make the most of their CBU experience in their next step in life.

“Graduates of this institution are challenged to become individuals whose skills, integrity and sense of purpose glorify God and distinguish them in the workplace and in the world,” Ellis said. “Those we honor today were uniquely challenged during these times. But all have met that challenge by continuing to develop their knowledge and skills with integrity.”

Madeline Kozelchik earned a Bachelor of Arts in Photography.

“CBU definitely helped me to fulfill my purpose by connecting me to likeminded individuals who will help me, as I will help them, to fulfill our dreams and the purposes that God gave us,” Kozelchik said.

CBU concludes 2021 spring commencement ceremoniesCheyenne Schoenfelder earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

“CBU got me in the mindset of doing God’s work,” Schoenfelder said. “I grew up in a Christian home, but faith was reiterated with all the classes. I feel like I’m better prepared to serve other people. As a nurse that’s really important.”

Nina Schlesinger, who earned a Master of Social Work, will work for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, working with unaccompanied minors. Previously, she had earned her Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry from CBU. The programs provided her to have a global perspective, she said.

“It prepared me to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Schlesinger said. “I’m able to work with the vulnerable and oppressed populations at the micro level but also the macro level. We’re ready to go out there and help in every way that we can to work with marginalized populations.”

During the ceremonies, CBU recognized the efforts of several students that achieved excellence in their academic accomplishments.

Ane Olaeta, an international student from Gernika, Spain, received the Min Sung Kim International Student Award that is presented to an international student who has made outstanding contributions to the CBU community. Zackary Kessler of Chino, California, was the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Senior Award. Kessler earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a 4.0 GPA. Amy Payne, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies graduate within the Division of Online and Professional Studies, earned the division’s Student of the Year recognition. Payne graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, Ellis presented honorary degrees for two faculty who had passed away during the spring semester. The family of Richard “Rick” Muchow, an instructor of music, received a Doctor of Music degree. The family of Dr. Carla Thornton, assistant professor of social work, received the Doctor of Humane Letters.

Another four ceremonies will be held May 7 and 10 to honor the 2020 graduates who were celebrated in December with a virtual commencement.

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504