CBU Honors Record 1,420 Graduates During Spring Commencement
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (May 2, 2015)— Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of California Baptist University, congratulated 1,420 graduating students during afternoon and evening commencement ceremonies at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Afternoon exercises included 717 traditional undergraduate degree candidates, while the evening ceremony honored 703 students, including all master's degree candidates, as well as undergraduates from Online and Professional Studies programs.
Ellis noted that the class was part of a record enrollment for the 2014-2015 academic year, with 7,957 enrolled at CBU.
"They have contributed to the continuing growth of CBU's campus culture as ‘a University Committed to the Great Commission' during an exciting time of continuing growth and improvement," Ellis said. "Each of these graduating students has arrived at this point because of a shared commitment to the challenging yet rewarding endeavor of higher education."
Dr. Jonathan K. Parker, CBU's provost and vice president for academic affairs, told students that it is not enough for university educators to help them achieve a lucrative profession, a fulfilled life or intelligent participation in the political process.
"We are a university that is committed to Christ's Great Commission," he said. "When you look at Matthew 28: 19-20, the first thing Jesus tells the disciples is to go. Go where? Everywhere. What are they to do? Teach, baptize and disciple; in other words have a significant impact on people's lives."
Parker explained that if a CBU graduate becomes a nurse and always gives the correct medication dosage, never misses a vein on an IV and efficiently and effectively follows all the protocols of appropriate patient care, and that's all, then their professors will have failed to live their purpose as educators at this institution.
"On the other hand, if you become the nurse who whispers a prayer over each and every one of your patients or spends an extra minute to reassure someone who is scared to death before going into surgery because you have been biblically rooted as a result of your time here at CBU, then we will have succeeded," he said.
Parker, a native of San Francisco, earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and religious studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a master of arts degree in psychology at San Francisco State University and a doctor of education degree in educational psychology from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. He will conclude his service as provost and vice president of academic affairs at the end of June to return to the classroom and pursue his passion for teaching.
"I believe that all of you have been equipped to serve," he said, "that all of you will live lives of purpose and that because of that we will have fulfilled our purpose as a university committed to the Great Commission."
Awards for student achievement were presented at both ceremonies. Won Young Kim, a psychology major from Korea, received the Min Sung Kim International Student Award, and Joseph Gemignani, a math major from San Mateo, Calif., received CBU's Outstanding Senior Award. Tiffany Angel Ruiz, who works for the County of Riverside and lives in Moreno Valley, Calif., was honored with the Outstanding Online and Professional Studies Student Award. Ruiz received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Combined with students who graduated last December, the Class of 2015 totals 1,946 applications for graduation, the largest number for a single year in CBU history.