The front lawn of California Baptist University was covered on Saturday, May 2, with friends, family and CBU faculty and staff in celebration of the graduating class of 2012.
Undergraduate Commencement began at 9 a.m. with the tradition of graduating students touching the Kugel as they did when they entered as freshmen. Students proceeded on to follow their corresponding school’s banners to their seats.
University President Ronald L. Ellis addressed the graduating students, friends and family with a welcome speech, and highlights of the advancements that have taken place through the graduates’ time at CBU.
“During the past academic year, the CBU community has watched construction move ahead on the building for the Robert K. Jabs School of Business as well as a new campus recreation center in Lancer Plaza,” Ellis said. “Graduates, these and other enhancements over the years virtually assure that the value of your CBU degrees should continue to increase, to God be the glory, great things He is doing at California Baptist University.”
The graduating class consisted of 1,330 students, which is CBU’s largest class to date. Causing the 1,000-graduate mark to be passed for the fourth consecutive year.
Adrian McDaniel, father of graduate Jordan McDaniel gave the invocation and scripture reading and greetings were given by Anthony Dockery chair, Board of Trustees.
Graduate Jerrod Steele, gave the student address encouraging students to remember their first true love.
“God’s words are etched upon the Kugel out front. His story is sung about in Chapel and preached in the Van Dyne Gym. He’s found in the Simmons Hall bible study and the Colony South small group. He’s all over this campus there to remind us of what we so easily forget,” Steele said. “He’s the cherry ICEE of my youth, yet he does infinitely more than turn my tongue red. He’s the great provider that calls us to trust in him. He’s the one we call our first love.”
Graduate Elizabeth Ann Taylor performed a musical presentation of the song “By Our Love” by Christy Nockels and also later performed CBU’s alma mater “CBU, We’ll Love You” by S.E. Boyd Smith.
The Right Honorable Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, prime minister of the republic of Rwanda gave the undergraduate commencement address. The first 12 Rwandan students attending CBU through the Presidential Scholarship program that was established in 2007 received their bachelor’s degrees, and all students were congratulated by Habumuremyi on behalf of the Rwandan President, His Excellency Paul Kagame and the Rwandan people.
In recognition of Habumuremyi’s many contributions and achievements, Ellis conferred him with an honorary degree of doctor of laws.
Neil Morgan, associated students of CBU executive vice president and Josefina Llanes, ASCBU senior class representative, presented the Senior Class Gift of a new commuter lounge, which will include furniture, a microwave, a refrigerator, televisions, computers, printers and a study area.
“We hope that this new commuter lounge will be a place for future commuter students to relax, fellowship and enjoy the campus,” Morgan said.
Provost Jonathan K. Parker and Vice-President of Online and Professional Studies division, David Poole presented the graduating classes of 2012 for both traditional and Online and Professional Studies students.
John Chestnut, father of graduate Melissa Chestnut ended commencement with a benediction for the futures of the class of 2012.