Union Institute & University California Commencement Ceremony was a day of celebration as over 160 adults received their diplomas and joined Union’s legacy to engage, enlighten, and empower in a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility on August 19, 2018.

Dr. Rhonda Brinkley-Kennedy, executive director of the Los Angeles Academic Center, welcomed the audience and reminded our graduates “there is only one Union Institute & University. It not only transforms our lives, it can – and does – transform the world around us.”

President of Union Institute & University, Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, congratulated the graduates and welcomed them into the legacy of service and leadership that our alumni provide to their communities every day.

Dr. Webb introduced the keynote, Adrienne Lamar Snider, Executive Director for Operations at the Child Abuse Prevention Center. Dr. Webb bestowed the university’s highest honor, the Doctor of Humane Letters: Honoris Causa to Ms. Snider with the following words. “ Ms. Lamar Snider, in recognition of your lifelong dedication to selflessly serve others and to provide pathways to success, it is an honor not only for Union to have you as our speaker today, but also to bestow upon you the university’s highest honor, the Doctor of Humane Letters: Honoris Causa. Through your life’s work, you have become a beacon of service, and one whose work echoes Union Institute & University’s beloved mission to engage, enlighten, and empower all to a life of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

Ms. Snider shared with the graduates that she understood their journey of work, family and courage to pursue their degrees. She reminded them how smart adults are because they possess the kind of experiential knowledge gained only from life experience. She also asked the graduates to think of what’s next in their lives.

Other Highlights included:

  • Grand Marshal – Dr. Birgit Monks, faculty in the undergraduate program.
  • Invocation – Presented by Kent Wilson, a new graduate in Criminal Justice Management.
  • Announcer – Dr. Allison Leggett, lead faculty for the Child and Adolescent Development major
  • Recognition of veterans – Designated by wearing a special red, white, and blue honor cord, in recognition of their service to our country.
  • “America the Beautiful” – Sang by Ms. Ami Bryant and Ms. Mercy Smith.
  • 2018 Mark Dunakin Award for Extraordinary Achievement – Awarded to Sergeant Heather Forsythe in honor of Sergeant Dunakin, a UI&U student killed in the line of duty and presented to a new graduate of the Criminal Justice Management major who serves in law enforcement and who emulates his commitment to community service and academic success.
  • Special thank you – Thank you to the Los Angeles Academic Center staff especially Ms. Camila Pulido, Ms. Katy Sue, and Ms. Brenda Melendez, who coordinated commencement events.

Congratulations 2018 California Graduates! Enjoy the pictures of the 2018 California Commencement Ceremony and connect with us on our Facebook page to see more commencement pictures.

Union’s next commencement ceremony will be the National Commencement on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in downtown Cincinnati.

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