(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – May 10, 2019) California Lutheran University will hold its 2019 Undergraduate Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18.
An estimated 792 students are eligible to participate in the ceremony in William Rolland Stadium. Of those, 691 are traditional undergraduate students and 101 are in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program.
Bailey Van Buren of Santa Paula will speak on behalf of the traditional undergraduate degree recipients. A first-generation college student from a low-income household, she first set foot on the Cal Lutheran campus as a high school student in the TRIO Upward Bound program and decided it was her dream school. As an undergraduate, she worked for TRIO and Student Support Services and she traveled to Washington, D.C., in March to lobby for continued funding for these programs. Van Buren nurtured her lifelong interest in teaching as a history pedagogy major in preparation for working with middle or high school students. She studied abroad at the University of Aberdeen in the Scottish Highlands for a semester and volunteered at a nonprofit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses through the Alternative Winter Break program. She has served as a Presidential Host, Global Ambassador, International Peer Mentor and Student Ambassador. She was also involved in the Black Student Union and Latin American Student Organization.
Claira Bailey-Guerra of Oxnard will speak on behalf of the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals students. Her journey to Cal Lutheran started at the Ventura Pride Festival. She and her girlfriend were handing out candy rainbow crosses when they met associate professor of religion Peter Carlson, who mentioned that he taught a class on queer theology at Cal Lutheran. Feeling that she wanted to be part of the Cal Lutheran community, she began taking classes in the Professionals program. A year ago, Bailey-Guerra and her wife were married by Carlson. Bailey-Guerra plans to use her degree in organizational leadership to further her longtime efforts to improve health care systems, work she was drawn to after battling a debilitating autoimmune disease as a teen. She recently joined her wife’s psychology office and hopes to build the small practice into a clinic for at-risk clients. She plans to pursue a law degree with an emphasis in health care management and to develop a business management consulting firm for small to mid-sized medical practices.
Alexis Ghattas of Lancaster will speak as president of the Associated Students of Cal Lutheran. She first crossed a commencement stage in her mother’s arms when the 21-year-old received her high school diploma. She has earned a degree in exercise science and a minor in religion, becoming part of the first generation in her family to graduate from college. In addition to her student government role, Ghattas served as president of the Exercise Science Club and treasurer of the Muslim Student Alliance.
Tickets are required for admission. For more information, call the Office of Academic Affairs at 805-493-3364.