A record graduating class and recognition for a local pioneer are two of the highlights of Fresno Pacific University’s Spring Commencement Saturday, May 4, 2019.

Some 705 students are eligible to graduate in the ceremony, which begins at 10:00 a.m. in Selland Arena, 700 M St., Fresno. The bachelor’s degree completion class has 336 members, with 175 traditional undergraduates, 168 master’s degree candidates and 26 from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.

FPU will present its first honorary doctorate, to Fitzalbert “Bert” Marius, M.D. Dr. Marius was the first African American to perform open heart surgery in Fresno, and was involved in over 11,000 such surgeries during a 50-year practice at several local hospitals before retiring at 91 years old. He and a team he brought with him became the first African American interns at Fresno County General Hospital (now Community Medical Center). Dr. Marius remains active in the community through speaking, writing and working with young people. A World War 2 veteran of the Pacific theater, he is involved with Hometown Heroes and Central Valley Honor Flight. More about Dr. Marius at youtube.com/watch?v=G9AAybM6OW8 and thefeather.com/2018/11/15/wwii-veteran-dr-fitzalbert-marius-encourages-students-toward-service/.

Featured speaker Johann Matthies is the director of mission development in Europe and West and Central Asia for Multiply, an international mission organization. His role is to oversee a sending agency for church planting and short-term mission, as well as providing resources to churches to respond to various social and humanitarian crises, such as the ongoing refugee crisis in Germany. Matthies is also involved in the Evangelical Bible Institute, which provides biblical and theological training for young growing leaders.

Other participants will include President Joseph Jones, Ph.D.; Joshua Wilson, chair of the FPU Board of Trustees; Samra Gebretsadkan, president of the traditional undergraduate student body; and student ensembles the Chamber Choir and Pacific Brass.





Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations