CalSouthern’s annual commencement ceremony is the highlight of the academic year for university staff, faculty and, of course, CalSouthern’s graduates, their families and guests. It’s a joyous, inspirational and, oftentimes, exceptionally moving event. It culminates a wonderful week with graduates from around the country and around the world gathering in sunny Southern California. Most take some time to visit CalSouthern’s campus during the week to spend time with the faculty, deans and advisors who have accompanied them step-by-step on their academic journey.
The ceremony itself has grown beyond a traditional graduation exercise. It’s become a true celebration of CalSouthern’s graduates and their academic achievements, as well as their dedicated work in their communities.
This year, in addition to stirring remarks from university president Dr. Caroll Ryan and a rousing speech delivered by DBA graduate Dr. Michael Morris, attendees were treated to an inspirational keynote address by Dr. James Shaw—a member of CalSouthern’s faculty and an author and nationally renowned scholar who has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America and CBS News, among many other television and radio programs.
Enid Richey of the university’s School of Behavioral Sciences, received the 2013 Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (please see our Q&A with Enid), while Dr. Caelan Kuban—a 2013 PsyD graduate—was honored with the President’s Award for Doctoral Project Excellence for her dedicated and innovative work in the treatment of childhood trauma. She strongly believes that traumatized children need to be viewed from the perspective of “what has happened to them,” rather than “what is wrong with them”—and her work helps these children better regulate their emotions and behavior, and hopefully avoid contact with the juvenile justice system.
One of the most moving moments came when MA graduate and current PsyD learner Freddie Williams was presented with the 2013 CalSouthern Difference Award. His story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles in an effort to fulfill his calling to help others is extraordinarily powerful. You can hear his story—in Freddie’s own words—here.
We look forward to celebrating with our graduates from the class of 2014 and beyond. However, you don’t have to wait until you graduate to join in the celebration—CalSouthern’s commencement ceremony is always open to all current and prospective learners, alumni and their guests. We hope to see you there!
In the meantime, please enjoy the video highlights from this year’s event.