Undergrad Class of 2020 is largest to date

Cal Lutheran to launch virtual commencement May 16

Sophie Sassounian of Ventura will speak on behalf of the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals students.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – May 6, 2020) California Lutheran University’s virtual 2020 Undergraduate Commencement on May 16 will honor a record number of degree recipients.

A total of 854 students, making up the university’s largest-ever undergraduate graduating class, are eligible to participate in the 57th annual ceremony. Of those, 734 are traditional undergraduate students and 120 are in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program. One-third of the graduates are the first in their family to earn a college degree.

The virtual 2020 Undergraduate Commencement will be accessible beginning at 10 a.m. May 16 at CalLutheran.edu/Commencement. In-person undergraduate and graduate ceremonies are planned after restrictions on large gatherings are lifted.

The virtual commencement will include video recordings of student speeches, the presentation of graduates by Provost Leanne Neilson and remarks from and the conferring of degrees by President Chris Kimball. There also will be a blessing, message from the Alumni Board and a performance by the Cal Lutheran Choir. The page will feature downloadable slides for graduates with photos and recorded announcements of names and graduation honors that can be shared on social media.

Sophie Sassounian of Ventura will speak on behalf of the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals students. She emigrated from Venezuela to the United States when she was 11. She put her dreams to go to college and study psychology on hold in order to start a family and taught Spanish while raising her two sons. Refocusing on her dreams after surviving domestic violence, Sassounian enrolled at Cal Lutheran. The university became her second home, and earning her degree in psychology made her feel stronger and more confident. She now plans to pursue a master’s degree and eventually teach at the college level.

Francheska Tanglao of Cerritos will speak on behalf of the traditional undergraduate degree recipients. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in art, she will begin a doctoral program in occupational therapy at Columbia University in the fall. She was a Culver Behavioral Science Research Fellow and served as a Psychology Department assistant, treasurer of the Interdisciplinary Research Council and secretary of Psi Chi psychology honor society. She was president of the CLU Beekeepers and CLU Rotaract and an actress for In the Lu. Tanglao received the 2019 Student Life Academic and Experiential Learning Award.

Cal Lutheran offers programs for more than 3,000 undergraduate students in Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills and Oxnard. The university transitioned to virtual instruction for spring semester on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, email commencement@callutheran.edu.