News • December 16, 2021

CBU celebrates 2021 graduates at fall commencement ceremonies

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Riverside, Calif. (Dec. 16, 2021) – Fall commencement at California Baptist University provided two days of celebration as the Class of 2021 participated in ceremonies at the Events Center. Students received recognition in front of cheering friends and family members on Dec. 15-16.

A total of 920 students were eligible to participate in the ceremonies. Combined applications for graduation included 15 candidates for doctoral degrees, 277 for master’s degrees and 628 candidates for undergraduate degrees.

Students for the fall commencement make up the Class of 2021 that totals 3,718 candidates from the spring, summer and fall commencement ceremonies.

In his commencement address, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president, congratulated the graduates for reaching their goal.

“Today, all the demanding work and sacrifice poured into your college years finally pays off,” Ellis said. “Even more, you weathered continual changes, interruptions and unknowns caused by a global pandemic. You adapted to these unprecedented circumstances and finished strong.”

Through their pursuit of their educational goal, the graduates showed what it means to Live Your Purpose,® Ellis said.

“At CBU we believe each person is created for a purpose. 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.

As the graduates prepare for their next endeavor, Ellis encouraged them to remember the experiences they had in college.

“May you also take with you a continuing passion for learning, the friendships made and the life lessons gained during your college years,” Ellis said. “My earnest hope and prayer is that each of you will embrace this new beginning with Lancer enthusiasm. May your CBU experience and your CBU degree serve as solid building blocks in a sturdy foundation for all your ambitions and dreams.”

Maddie Garrett, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, will be student teaching in the spring and plans to be an elementary school teacher. She was thankful to have classes back in-person this fall in order to connect with other future teachers.

“CBU shaped me a lot,” Garrett said. “I was blessed to have a good spiritual community. I was able to find good friends and a good teacher community. I think a lot of those fellow students who are teachers will be friends forever. So without them, I don't know where I would be.”

Kathryn McBride, who also earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, plans to be an elementary school teacher as well. She grew up attending public schools. 

“This community has been so sweet and so special, and I feel like it has shaped me and shown me that in an educational and then hopefully in a professional setting that I'll be able to find fellow believers,” McBride said. “It's been just very comforting to be able to see people in the same stage of life and wanting the same things. I think that shaped me the most, and I realized that there are a lot of us who want to serve the Lord and can do that in whatever major we're in.”

Chris Brown, who received a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Flight, said his biggest success was getting his private pilot’s license. He has since earned his commercial certificate. Brown started at a public university before transferring to CBU.

“I like CBU because you’re not just another number,” Brown said. “They shaped me to care about people more and pay more attention to people.

Michael Odgers earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Statistical Analysis. He did two years at a junior college and played baseball before transferring to CBU.

“Once I decided to come here, it helped me realize what was important, and that school was important,” Odgers said. “Switching from that athlete mindset to more of a student mindset is what really helped me develop at CBU, and my professors helped with that.”