This month, I attended my eighth California Southern University commencement ceremony. From a professional standpoint, commencement is, without a doubt, my favorite day of the year. It’s a time of celebration and excitement, as well as one of reflection for the entire CalSouthern family. It’s also a time to finally meet in person those with whom we have corresponded via telephone and email for many years prior—those with whom we have shared many challenges and triumphs.
Our graduates and their guests fly in from across the country, as well as from around the world. I had the privilege of meeting a graduate from the Doctor of Business Administration program who had just flown in from London, England with his family. The pride on his wife’s and daughters’ faces was palpable. My brief exchange with our DBA graduate and his family served as a reminder of the sacrifices made by not just the students, but also by their family members as they help their loved ones achieve their educational goals.
While some graduates attend commencement with their own personal cheering sections, some graduates make the journey on their own. One of our Master of Science in Law graduates made such a journey from Orlando, Florida. He arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on the morning of the ceremony, took a taxi to Irvine and waited for hours before the doors of the Barclay Theatre opened. He would then take a taxi back to LAX and board his return flight at 11:00 p.m. That this graduate bore the expense of flying to California (his first trip to the West Coast) just for the day, to participate in CalSouthern’s commencement ceremony emphasizes the importance our learners and graduates place upon the attainment of their undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Whether their journey is a 10-hour flight, a 20-minute drive, or something in between, it always means a lot to us when our graduates attend commencement and give us the honor of celebrating their accomplishments with them.