Cal Lutheran sent forth more than 1,200 graduates during the Fiftieth Annual Commencement ceremonies held May 17 and 18 in William Rolland Stadium.
Family and friends cheered the students as they walked onto the field and took their seats. President Chris Kimball welcomed them and expressed the University's pride in the graduates.
"Create a life that allows you to be of service to others."Jason Peplinksi
Graduate and Adult Student Council Chair
"We congratulate you on your hard work, your determination, your commitment to reaching your academic goals—those characteristics that led you to this day."
Undergraduate Commencement keynote speaker Karsten Lundring, a member of Cal Lutheran's second graduating class in 1965, spoke of the benefits of being active alumni. A regular at Kingsmen football home games, Lundring ended his speech the same way he celebrates every Cal Lutheran touchdown: by tossing handfuls of candy to the students.
Connie Stewart, President of the University's Alumni Association and three-time Cal Lutheran graduate, officially inducted the students as new alumni.
"You are following in the footsteps of five decades of graduates who moved on from us with a purpose," Stewart said. "You are joining a dynamic network of alumni that includes more than 23,000 individuals who care about CLU and the students that emerge from here as leaders."
Graduate Commencement keynote speaker Kate McLean reminded students that, as leaders, they need to play an active role in the future.
"Every leader you've ever admired, every little thing that you have ever accomplished is the result of taking action."
Jason Peplinksi, Chair of the Graduate and Adult Student Council and a Cal Lutheran Regent, spoke about the work and responsibility that comes with a graduate degree.
"We will constantly be engaged in lifelong learning. It's what pushes the human race forward."Mark Banuelos
B.A. in Marketing Communication
"Earning an advanced degree takes determination and hard work beyond the ordinary," Peplinksi said. He then encouraged the graduates to "create a life that allows you to be of service to others."
Doctoral speaker Amanda Carpenter, who earned a degree in higher education leadership, issued a similar challenge.
"As we celebrate our successes today, I challenge everyone to think about how we can create a better tomorrow for our future scholars."
Masters student speaker Denise Manila, who earned a degree in education specializing in counseling and guidance, emphasized the importance of each graduate's role in global change.
"Making sacrifices to better the world around us begins with making changes within ourselves," Manila said. "We must be the change that we want to see in others. What we do today determines who we become tomorrow."
Mark Banuelos, who earned a degree in marketing communication, emphasized the importance of education in the graduates' post-commencement lives.
"We will constantly be engaged in lifelong learning," Banuelos said. "It's what pushes the human race forward. Continue, then, for the rest of your lives to learn from all the world has to offer."
Alan Kingsley Hart, the Adult Bachelor's Degree Program speaker, earned a degree in liberal studies and has worked for the past seven years in special education. Hart spoke of the determination required to meet the challenges the graduates would face, quoting screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.
"You're going to fall down, but the world doesn't care how many times you fall down, as long as it's one fewer than the number of times you get back up."
Rebecca Cardone, who served as Student Body President for the past academic year, reminded the graduates that the Cal Lutheran community is a global one.
"As Cal Lutheran graduates, we have taken a journey of transformation committed to developing our community and our world," Cardone said. "Don't let geography destroy our created community—expand it. Take what you've learned here and apply it wherever you go."