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Graduates Earn 305 Degrees

Lainey S. Cronk, June 15, 2010
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The usual fair weather and crowds of well-wishers signaled the 2010 commencement weekend, starting on Friday evening, June 11. Graduates, 290 in all, were honored and recognized in various ways throughout the weekend and received 305 degrees on Sunday, June 13.

The weekend began with the Friday evening Consecration Service in the church sanctuary, featuring music, a class video, class remembrance, and speaker Bradley Gienger, a religion major of the Class of 2010 who's headed next to Andrews University for his Master of Divinity degree. Gienger also recognized religion professor Jimmy Ha, who passed away from cancer last month, and students Boaz Pak and Chong Shin,

who died in 2008 in a car accident and would have been graduating with this class.

On Sabbath, a professor and four senior class officers offered "Reflections" for Sabbath School and speaker Jose Rojas presented the sermon at the Baccalaureate Service. Rojas is the Director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He's also a musician, author, and preacher and has assisted two United States presidents with domestic policy initiatives for humanitarian leadership. His topic for the sermon was "You are the Salt of the Earth."

The sanctuary filled again on Sabbath afternoon for the nursing graduate recognition service. This year the nursing graduates included students from Travis Air Force Base who completed the med tech to RN program PUC offers at the base. The PUC nursing professor who directs that program, Debra Winkle, was recently made an Honorary Commander and collaborates with Colonel Lynne Taylor, 60th Inpatient Operations Squadron commander at David Grant Medical Center. Col. Taylor gave the address at the recognition service, and graduates received awards and their Associate of Science in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing pins.

The president's reception took place on Sabbath evening on the campus mall and provided an opportunity for many seniors and their parents to meet and mingle with college president Heather Knight and faculty members.

Sunday morning early found families saving seats in what quickly turned into a warm day in Commencement Grove. Class president Carignane von Pohle gave the valedictory and Arthur A. Dugoni, dean emeritus of the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, gave the commencement address called "Live a Life that Matters." Dugoni is a professor, senior executive for development, and president of the American Dental Association Foundation. "Welcome to the fraternity of educated people who place service above self, who care to make a difference in their professions and their communities," he told graduates. "Find your passion. It took me 'til I was 53 years of age to find my passion… You'll find it sooner!"

Dugoni counseled students to find and choose their passions not just in terms of career but in terms of life. "You and you alone will ultimately determine the success you want, the life you want to live, the quality of time you'll spend with your spouse, your significant other, your children, your parents, and the concerns that you'll have for your fellow man," he said. "I urge you, take time. Climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often…forgive more, pray more, thank more, love more. Live that life as you go along. Enjoy the ride." Then he added, "However, as you enjoy the ride, I urge you to make a difference. Believe me, I know you can."

The graduates then received their degrees, 305 in total presented to 290 graduates. The largest department groups were nursing and business administration, and 89 students earned academic distinction or Honors. Graduate Peter Katz was recognized as being a fifth-generation PUC graduate, and PUC celebrated its first graduates from two new programs, environmental studies and drama. Other class trivia included the youngest graduate (19) and oldest (58); the class members (10) who served as student missionaries or task force workers; and states (18) and countries (5) represented by the graduates.