alumni awards



Wil Byers transferred to CBU from community college in the fall of 2009 and graduated with a Business Administration degree in 2011. Shortly after graduation, he began working on the Jones Zafari Group in Merrill Private Wealth Management in Los Angeles, where he's now a partner, and helps families with all the opportunities and challenges that come with managing substantial wealth.

He stays connected with the students at the Jabs School of Business, often speaks to business classes, and is on the Board of Trustees for California Baptist University. 

In his free time, Wil enjoys living an active and adventurous lifestyle, traveling, leading adventure motorcycle trips to obscure places around the world, and spending time with his family & friends. He and his wife, Rachel, have been married for over 10 years and have a three year old daughter. They live in Century City, Los Angeles.

In recognition of outstanding leadership and professional excellence, Wil Byers is the recipient of the 2024 Young Alumni Achievement Award


Marissa Figueroa, a Corona, CA native, is a 2019 graduate of the CBU Masters of Athletic Training program. She had an athletic training internship with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018 and worked as an athletic trainer at the University of California Davis from 2019-2021 where she worked with the football and women’s lacrosse teams. In 2021 she took an internship with the Buffalo Bills. She quickly earned the respect of her fellow trainers and the players themselves. Marissa was named a full-time athletic trainer in 2023, becoming the first woman to do so in franchise history. She credits CBU with preparing the way for her in all aspects, as a medical healthcare professional and as a disciple of Jesus.

In recognition of outstanding leadership and service to her community, Marissa Figueroa is receiving the 2024 Alumni Service Award.

mike staver

Mike Staver is a 1984 alum of CBU. He graduated with a degree in business administration. He also holds a degree in counseling psychology and is a certified speaking professional. He is the founder of The Staver Group, an organization committed to Helping Leaders Perform Better and Live Better Lives. In 2018 he founded Wise Counsel an organization that has certified over 400 people in his coaching methodology

Mike is a published author, an internationally recognized speaker and coach. He has been a featured guest on such shows as Fox and Friends, Fox Business channel, Good morning New York and Chicago.

In 2020 Mike was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Virtual Speaker Hall of Fame. His ability to connect with audiences and deliver transformative messages has made him a sought-after coach and speaker for organizations ranging from Federal Express and Miracle Ear to Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, the Mayo Clinic and more.

He architected a program that was ranked as #1 by Training Magazine in their Training Top 125 and the same program was inducted into the Training Magazine Hall of Fame.

Beyond the accolades and professional successes, Staver's real-world experience spans a diverse range of industries, from healthcare to high-end security. He has navigated a multitude of business challenges, leveraging these experiences to guide others in their leadership journeys.

In recognition of outstanding professional advancement and vocational excellence, Mike Staver is receiving the 2024 Alumnus of the Year Award.


Bill Williams graduated from Cal Baptist University in 1981. It was  during his time at CBU that he met his wife, Linda McCasland. They were married for 36 years until she passed in 2018.

While serving on staff in Mira Loma as an elementary school principal and minister of education, Bill began work on his Master of Divinity at Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Seminary), completing his degree in 1991. Bill has been the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Rancho Cucamonga for 36 years. In those years, he has led countless people to the Lord, baptized hundreds of church members including all three of his children, and has counseled and married numerous couples. He has seen children born, developed, grown into mature adults, officiated at their weddings and been blessed to see their children come into the world. Bill has been honored to preside over the funeral services of cherished and loved church members who served faithfully as co-laborers at FBC. Bill has also been on mission trips to Kenya, Hong Kong, and New York, and led a mission trip to Macao.

Over his years ministering to his congregation, he has written many bible studies and daily devotionals to go along with his sermon series’, enabling the church to come together in study and worship, and to learn God’s word more deeply and meaningfully.

Bill is a beloved and valued member of his community, receiving certificates of recognition and serving on a clergy advisory board for the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department. He has also written the foreword for an edition of the book Unshakeable by Nelson Searcy.

In recognition of his outstanding service in Christian Ministry and pursuit of the Great Commission, Bill Williams is receiving the 2024 Award for Distinguished Service in Christian Ministries.


Michelle Adair is a 1993 CBC graduate with a degree in Psychology. She opened her wildly popular children’s store, My Room My Way in 2005 in Redlands, CA. She has worked in training operations at SDSU Research Foundation and the Academy for Professional Excellence since 2015.

Michelle joined CBC’s Women of Vision in 2007.

She established her first scholarship for the School of Nursing in 2016 in memory of her mother, Janet M. Vickers. She established the Bryce R. Koren Scholarship for the School of Behavioral Health in 2019 in memory of her son. And in 2021 she established the Neale and Michelle Adair Scholarship for Theatre and Christian Ministries.

Michelle believes in the power of education and is always excited to support the work that CBU is doing to accomplish The Great Commission.

In recognition of their extraordinary generosity towards the vision and mission of California Baptist University, Michelle Adair is receiving the 2024 Alumni Philanthropy Award.

the youngs

Ray and Penny Young are both 1966 graduates of CBU. They were married in 1968 after Ray returned from serving two years in the Philippines as an IMB missionary journeyman and Penny finished a secondary credential and one year of teaching. They moved to Ft. Worth where Ray completed an MCM at Southwestern Seminary and Penny taught English. Ray then served churches in California and Nevada in some combination of music, education, and youth ministry. Penny continued teaching in public and private schools. She served every church as a Bible teacher in a variety of age groups.  

In the early 1980s, Ray felt a call to the preaching ministry and earned a Doctorate of Ministries degree. Thereafter, he was called as pastor of Harvard Terrace Baptist Church, Fresno, CA, where he served 17 years. In addition to pastoring, he was very active in community ministries. Penny continued her teaching career and Bible teaching ministry.         

Ray and Penny are the parents of Matthew Ragan, a truly terrific young man who was tragically killed in an automobile accident at 19 in 1994. Their faith was tested by fire. They claimed Romans 8:28 the night of his death and watched in awe as God ministered to their hurting hearts. God then called them to an additional ministry to the grieving which they never would have chosen for themselves. Penny’s book I’ll See You in the Sunrise, A Mother’s Odyssey in Grief has given comfort and support to countless grieving families. Penny served for 20 years on the board of directors for Alive Alone, Inc., a ministry to now-childless parents, and began a one-on-one ministry to newly-bereaved mothers. Both Ray and Penny began speaking and writing about grief in newsletters and conferences sponsored by Compassionate Friends, In Loving Memory, and Alive Alone. They also began a grief support group for grieving parents in their home.         

In 2003 after a mission trip to Nairobi, they felt God calling them to international mission service. They retired, were appointed IMB missionaries, and served in Spain and then Portugal for six years. 

Retiring once again in 2011, they returned to the States to help care for Ray’s ailing mother and began a life of volunteering. They served as RV missionaries throughout several summers at Jenness Park Campground before its sale in 2020. They regularly volunteer at California Family Council, Right to Life, First Saturday Prayer, the Fresno Fair, and their church where they both teach, lead the prayer ministry, and work year-round packing Operation Christmas Child boxes. Penny continues her mentoring/counseling of newly bereaved moms and Ray does supply preaching and sings in the Community Choir of the Valley.

In 2022 Ray joined the Clovis Police Department as a volunteer chaplain where he serves two or three 24-hour shifts a month assisting and serving officers. In addition, both he and Penny volunteer for CPD sponsored events throughout the year such as Cops and Kids Camp and Clovis Night Out. 

In recognition of a life dedicated to the Gospel, service, and the mission of California Baptist University, Ray and Penny Young are receiving the highest honor awarded, the 2024 Lancer Lifetime Achievement Award.




Monique Garcia, ’19, was guided to study at California Baptist University as a means to honor her mentor, Hal Byers, who was also an alum of CBU. She spent her time in her kinesiology program focusing her studies on the physical and psychological effects of long-duration spaceflight. After completing her Master of Science in Kinesiology in 2019, Monique went on to work at MITRE as a human factors engineer and systems administrator. With MITRE, she has been able to continue working on various space-related projects as she had hoped for during her studies. During her time with MITRE, she was selected by NASA to be an analog astronaut for a simulated mission to Mars. Since her time with NASA, she inspired projects and research that she has been able to move forward with the assistance and funding through her employer, MITRE.

Monique lives in Colorado with her husband, Trevor; son, Jameson; and their two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, strength conditioning and spending time in nature.

In recognition of outstanding leadership and professional excellence, Monique Garcia received the 2023 Young Alumni Achievement Award


Dr. Alía A. Rodriguez, ’20, has been serving the public of Riverside County for over 18 years. Her experiences in local government and the non-profit sectors give her a unique set of skills that have proven to improve cultures, processes and policies in organizations she has worked with. Currently, Alía is the CEO and domestic violence advocate at the Corona-Norco United Way. Alia was also a long-time adjunct professor in the History and Government Department for CBU and is also CEO of her own consulting company, Alia Rodriguez Independent Advising (ARIA). She serves on various boards, commissions and committees throughout the county including Corona Regional Medical Center, the Community Action Partnership, and the Corona Chamber of Commerce Executive Leadership Roundtable. Additionally, Alía is active in The Grove Community Church as a women’s Bible study table lead and a volunteer cashier at The Hub.

She and her husband have two children, two rescue dogs and live in the city of Riverside.

 In recognition of outstanding leadership and service to her community, Dr. Alia A. Rodriguez received the 2023 Alumni Service Award.


Methode Maniraguha, ’13, came to CBU in 2009 under the Government of Rwanda and the CBU Presidential Scholarship program. He entered the engineering program studying electrical and computer engineering. In 2018, he founded Current Renewable Engineering, Inc. (CRE), where he is the CEO. CRE provides engineering services for the solar industry. Their expertise is in the engineering of solar PV systems, battery storage systems, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Currently, they are licensed in over 30 states with the possibility of expanding their reach even further. They are working to continue creating tools, products and services that will help achieve a sustainable energy future.

In 2020, Methode was awarded the 2020 Emerging Entrepreneur Award from the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce for his work at CRE. Methode believes his purpose is to create, launch and successfully build stable, sustainable and customer-centric businesses that address real-life problems and empower people through employment. He and his wife also have hopes of utilizing their resources to support the education of disadvantaged girls through Christian missions or however God leads them.

In recognition of outstanding professional advancement and vocational excellence, Methode Maniraguha received the 2023 Alumnus of the Year Award.


As the president of The Go Fund, a nonprofit he founded in 2014, Luke Womack, ’11, is working to eliminate the greatest barriers preventing followers of Christ from obeying the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Luke has led The Go Fund to approve over 100 missionary families for student debt repayment, with total debt assumed of around $6 million. In addition to student debt repayment, The Go Fund launched The Missions Course in 2023, a six-lesson course to help Christians explore God’s heart for the nations, and discover their role in His global plan for redemption. Luke has spent his career developing a leadership philosophy that he calls “intelligent leadership.” In 2021, he launched a consulting practice to coach leaders on these principles. He has coordinated many private workshops for leadership teams, and has served as a keynote speaker to present on his framework for leaders and organizations.

Luke lives in Anaheim Hills with his wife, Allison, and three children, Vera (6), Dawson (5) and Pearl (3).

In recognition of his outstanding service in Christian Ministry and pursuit of the Great Commission, Luke Womack received the 2023 Award for Distinguished Service in Christian Ministries.


Alumnae Patty Geyer, ’85, is a native California girl. She is the founder and current president of Victory Coaching International. Victory Coaching is committed to helping leaders leave a positive impact on the local community and the world at large through individual and group coaching. She has been an executive business coach for 20 years, and, five years ago, she became a certified Blackaby spiritual leadership coach. She believes every person is a leader and is committed to helping people discover their God-given talents and use them to serve others.

In February 2020 Vistage International, the world’s leading chief executive membership organization awarded Patty the distinguished title of chair emeritus after 15 years of leading CEO peer advisory boards to business and personal success. During her 15 years of chairing she was selected to emcee regional and international conferences and was awarded the Chair Excellence Award.

Patty has authored two books. Her first book SURF-VIVAL is a motivational book to inspire young women through surfing to be a Smart Girl. Her second book is titled "POSSIBILITY – What a Tropical Island Taught Me about Leadership and Life,” which is based on true stories from starting and running a business in a third world country, the Kingdom of Tonga.

Patty has many accomplishments including helping to complete a $16.5 million capital campaign to benefit the education of children on the history and importance of the ocean for the Ocean Institute in the Dana Point Harbor. She was a Rotarian for 20+ years and served a term as president of the Monarch Beach Chapter. She ran a successful scuba diving, whale watching and sport fishing business in Tonga and was elected as the representative for the country in tourism. She currently volunteers in Christian ministries helping people through her coaching skills. She has many other awards but we will stop there and say if you want something done ask a busy person.

Mike is a true mid-western man, raised in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota. Mike Geyer spent 28 years as the methods and procedures manager of operations at UPS Airlines. He was in charge of aviation logistics. He acquired his private pilot license 50 years ago. I would say he really loves to fly! Now he is retired and volunteers in a variety of ways the Lord leads him. He is the community handy man that helps out all the neighbors and a few special widows. However, his full-time job is looking after Patty.

Together they volunteer at Saddleback Church’s food pantry. Mike drives the commercial refrigeration trucks and Patty is on the prayer team. At the church, Mike is head of security and Patty is the spiritual leadership coach for the pastors and ministry staff. Together they lead a married couples life group.

Together they do disaster relief work for the California Southern Baptist Convention. They are both chainsaw certified and have helped out doing property recovery in the California fires. Most recently Patty has been accepted as a Rapid Response Team Chaplain for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

They are both members the Barnabas Group in Orange County where they are involved with a variety of Christian ministries. They have done mission trips in the past and see more in their future, God willing.

In recognition of their extraordinary generosity towards the vision and mission of California Baptist University, Patty and Michael Geyer received the 2023 Alumni Philanthropy Award.


After four years in the Air Force, Robert Langley, ’70, felt called to ministry and that led him to CBC. While on an evangelism team, he met his wife, Susan, at a Christian camp. They married and moved to Ft. Worth where Robert attended Southwestern Seminary.

After graduation, Robert was called to be the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in La Puente. He served as a pastor for 45 years, with calls to Truett Memorial Baptist Church, FBC Gilroy, and FBC Norwalk.

While pastor at Norwalk, Robert was president of a nonprofit housing board that owned a subsidized low-rent apartment building next to the church. It had been financed by HUD for low-rent housing. The board had an opportunity to sell the building and the board invested the money with the Baptist Foundation.

It was at this time that Robert and other pastors and denominational friends would come together to create SoCal Baptist Ministries.

Over the past six years, they have made over a thousand grants to CSBC churches for ministry and mission projects to assist them in reaching people for Christ. They have dispensed more than five million dollars to churches and an endowment to CBU, along with scholarship assistance for students. As long as the economy remains strong and the Lord continues to bless, this ministry will continue to operate.

Robert notes that serving as a pastor was a high honor and assisting fellow pastors in their ministry efforts has been an unbelievable joy. To God be the glory!

Robert and Susan have a daughter, Elizabeth, sons Rob and Matt, and six grandchildren.

In recognition of a life dedicated to the gospel, service and the mission of California Baptist University, Robert Langley received the highest honor awarded, the Lancer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Contact University Advancement

Phone: (951) 343-4226
Text to Give: Text CBUFUND to 41444

Alumni and Parent Relations

Phone: (951) 343-4439

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504