On August 2, 2014, approximately 600 CalSouthern graduates, guests, alumni, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the university’s 36th annual commencement. For the fourth consecutive year, the event was held at the spectacular Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California—a fitting venue for a truly wonderful celebration.
After the presentation of colors by the United States Marine Corps Color Guard from USMC Recruiting Station Orange County and the playing of the National Anthem, University President Dr. Caroll Ryan opened the ceremony with remarks that reminded the graduates that they are a part of something bigger—that they are part of the CalSouthern family. She then introduced the audience to a few members of that extended family: published authors, award-winning practitioners, c-level executives and successful entrepreneurs, active-duty military service members and veterans, as well as countless others who are making a difference in their local communities every day through their work and service.
Other speakers included Dr. Katheryn Whittaker—a 2014 Doctor of Psychology graduate—who had the audience alternately laughing and crying with her from-the-heart speech, and keynote speaker Jacqueline Seabrooks, Chief of the Santa Monica Police Department. Chief Seabrooks—both a trailblazer and rising star in law enforcement—shared her unique and thoughtful perspective on life’s journey.
The annual commencement ceremony also is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of CalSouthern’s graduates, faculty and alumni. Dr. Boyd Brooks was honored with the President’s Award for Doctoral Project Excellence for his work studying the far-reaching negative effects of reactive parenting styles. CalSouthern faculty mentor Dr. Barbara Lackey was named the 2014 Faculty Mentor of the Year for her remarkable abilities as an educator, her dedication to her learners and for her years of service to the university.
Judge David Widmaier—a 2011 graduate of CalSouthern’s Master of Science in Law program—was honored with the 2014 CalSouthern Difference Award for his excellence on the bench and for his volunteer and committee work to improve the administration of justice for citizens in his home state of Arizona and for people across the country. As part of the award, CalSouthern has made a donation of $2,500 in Judge Widmaier’s name to the White Mountain S.A.F.E. House, which works tirelessly to support and help rebuild the lives of victims of domestic abuse.
Of course, the primary focus of the ceremony was the graduates themselves. This year, graduates from Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as Canada and across the United States walked across the stage to shake the hands of President Ryan and the deans. Each graduate had submitted a personal statement that was read after their name was called, giving them the opportunity to thank the family members, friends, faculty and advisors who had supported and inspired them throughout their academic journey—it’s always an extremely moving part of the program.
Following the formal ceremony was a reception that gave the graduates an opportunity to relax, enjoy some refreshments and spend time with the CalSouthern faculty and academic staff who had worked so closely with them throughout their academic journey.
Please enjoy the photos on this page and in our photo gallery by clicking below. We think they nicely capture the many emotions and the overriding celebratory spirit of the 2014 CalSouthern Commencement Ceremony.