A nationally known speaker will highlight Fresno Pacific University’s spring 2017 Commencement.

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black will give the address to well over 400 graduates Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony starts at 10:00 a.m. in Selland Arena, 700 M St., Fresno. The title of Black’s speech will be: “Refusing to Accept Failure as an Option.”

Black, D.Min., Ph.D., is the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate. “We are very excited to have Dr. Black address our new graduates. This inspiring speaker brings a wealth of experience and a depth of understanding that will provide wisdom for our newest alumni as they enter a new phase of life,” said Richard Kriegbaum, Ph.D., who is leading his last commencement as FPU President.

Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Black served in the U.S. Navy for over 27 years, ending his distinguished career as with the rank of Rear Admiral and the title Chief of Navy Chaplains. His military decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two medals), Meritorious Service Medals (two awards) and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (two awards).

Among Black’s other awards are the NAACP Renowned Service Award, the Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from The Morehouse School of Religion and the Image Award from the Old Dominion University chapter of the NAACP. A native of Baltimore, MD, Black is an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Seminary, Salve Regina University and United States International University. He earned doctorates in ministry and psychology. Black and his wife, Brenda, have three sons.

As estimated 476 students—201 from the traditional undergraduate program, 130 from the bachelor’s degree completion program, 127 from the graduate program and 18 from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary) will be eligible to participate in this commencement. Graduates come from the main Fresno campus, as well as regional campuses in Merced, North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield.

Also on the platform will be Kriegbaum; Donald Griffith, chair of the FPU Board of Trustees; Dale H. Simmons, Ph.D., interim senior vice president/provost; and others. Music will be provided by the university Symphonic Band, Concert Choir and music professor Walter Saul, D.M.A., organ.

The ceremony will be streamed live and available for later viewing at fresno.edu/live



Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations