Nearly 700 receiving bachelor's degrees
Cal Lutheran in-person, drive-in ceremony is May 8
(VENTURA, Calif. — April 23, 2021) California Lutheran University will hold its 2021 Traditional Undergraduate Commencement in person at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura.
A total of 679 students are eligible to participate in the 58th annual ceremony.
Each graduate can bring one car of people to the fairgrounds parking lot. Graduates will be able to walk across the stage as their names are read as long as Ventura County is in the red, orange or yellow tier as outlined under state guidelines. Video of the ceremony will appear on four massive LED screens, and attendees will tune in to the state-of-the-art sound system through their car radios. The drive-in ceremony will be livestreamed on CalLutheran.edu for those who can’t attend.
The graduates’ college years have been marked by the Thomas and Woolsey fires, the Borderline shooting, the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing push to address racial injustice. After moving to virtual instruction in March 2020 when the state issued stay-at-home orders, Cal Lutheran began offering some in-person classes in outdoor classrooms at the beginning of the fall semester. Spring semester brought more in-person classes, with outdoor classrooms reopening in February and indoor classes starting in March.
Rachel Johnson, one of seven valedictorians for the traditional undergraduate Class of 2021, will discuss the power of community that helped students get through the events of the last four years when she speaks on behalf of her fellow graduates. The Woodland Hills resident is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in marketing communication with departmental distinction and a minor in theater arts. She is a member of the university’s Scholastic Honor Society and the Lamda Pi Eta communication honor society. Johnson, who was homeschooled through high school, fell in love with Cal Lutheran when she toured the campus and was involved in many activities throughout her studies. She performed in four theater productions, co-hosted an iCLU radio show, and served as president of the Every Nation Campus club. She traveled outside of the United States for the first time to participate in Cal Lutheran’s Oxford study abroad program. She also worked as an advertising sales manager for The Echo student newspaper, a senior office assistant for the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program and an aide for the Communication Department. Johnson plans to continue her acting career while working in branding and social media with the long-term goal of opening her own branding firm.
Cal Lutheran offers programs for about 2,600 traditional undergraduate students on its main campus in Thousand Oaks. Designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, Cal Lutheran attracts students from around the world.