CBU Graduates More Than 1,400 During Record-Setting Commencements
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (April 30, 2016)— Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of California Baptist University, commended 1,414 graduating students during two commencement ceremonies held at the Citizens Business Bank Arena on April 30. The afternoon exercise included 685 traditional undergraduate degree candidates, while the evening ceremony honored 729 students, including all master's degree candidates, and Online and Professional Studies programs.
Ellis noted that the class was part of a record number of graduation applications for the 2015-2016 academic year.
"[You have] contributed to the continuing growth of CBU's campus culture as ‘a University Committed to the Great Commission' during an exciting time of ongoing growth and improvement," Ellis said. "Each [student] has overcome obstacles to achieve this goal. Graduates, you have faced many difficulties and yet you persevered. We congratulate each one of you."
Amy Johnson, CBU alumna and news anchor and reporter for KCBS and KCAL9 television, was commencement speaker. Johnson told students that graduation is just the "starting blocks."
"I know you've worked hard—some of you harder than others—and I'm not saying you shouldn't celebrate this huge accomplishment, because what you've done is outstanding," she said. "I'm just saying this isn't the end. This is really the beginning for you."
Johnson ('90) elaborated on her journey to find her purpose.
"I wasn't praying about it; I wasn't trusting in the Lord. I was sticking with the safe route," she said.
Johnson said it was during her last year at CBU that she identified her passion—to become a news anchor and reporter—and this propelled her back to school to continue to receive the training she needed to pursue her dreams.
"What I'm really telling you is to follow your dreams—live your purpose—do what it is that you really want to do. It may seem a little scary…but this is where you rely on your faith and you pray, not just for money but for God's guidance to help lead you to do what you really want to do, and most importantly to follow God's will," Johnson said.
Awards for student achievement were presented at both ceremonies. Khai Ho, an accounting major from Vietnam, received the Min Sung Kim International Student Award, and Moriah Langley, a mechanical engineering major from Roseville, Calif., received CBU's Outstanding Senior Award. Gustavo Trujillo, from Baldwin Park, Calif., was honored with the Outstanding Online and Professional Studies Student Award. Trujillo received a bachelor's degree in accounting.
In total, 1,797 students applied to graduate this April and August. When combined with the students who graduated last December (521), the total number for the graduating Class of 2016 is 2,218 applications, the largest number in the history of CBU.