PUC Graduation-a fiesta in the forest

By Michelle Rai on December 18, 2007

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Flying tortillas. Gigantic beach balls. If it hadn’t been for the 364 students clothed in graduation regalia, one might have thought Pacific Union College’s Commencement Grove was the site of a very large family cook-out.

“ My friends and I bought 1,500 corn tortillas,” exclaimed Landon Bennett, international communication/Spanish graduate. “And we used them all.”

Tucked away in the college’s forested land, PUC’s commencement on Sunday, June 13, closed another chapter of late-night study sessions, weekend hikes to Inspiration Point, and emergency lunch-runs to Giugni’s.

“ I’ll miss this place—there’s nothing that comes close to this experience,” said Kristi Chiang, biochemistry graduate who will be attending Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry this fall.

Commencement speaker Jose Rojas, director of volunteer and young adult ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, presented a challenging address. Rojas encouraged the Class of 2004 to build relationships with those around them and their God instead of worrying about grades as a measure of success.

Richard Osborn, PUC president, then presented a total of 380 degrees, including associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Nearly 80 teaching credentials were awarded for elementary, secondary and early childhood education teachers.

Notably, over 30 adult learners from PUC’s Center for Continuing and Professional Education received their bachelor’s degrees. These CAPE students completed their degrees through extension campuses by attending class one night a week.

“ We’re so proud of our graduates,” said James Dick, CAPE director. “It’s incredibly rewarding to help these students achieve their dreams.”