New graduates told their stories and administrators, faculty and staff wished them well at the Fresno Pacific University Multicultural Baccalaureate ceremony December 12, 2018.
Organized by the Office of Spiritual Formation & Diversity, the morning event took place in Butler Church, 4884 E. Butler Ave., Fresno, adjacent to the main FPU campus as part of the preparations for commencement at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 15, in Selland Arena in downtown Fresno. Among the student speakers were Roy Warren, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, and Viviana Vasquez, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art with an emphasis in graphic design.
His life has been heavy, Warren said, but like bumblebees that fly with small wings, the faithful can soar. “If you had told me when I gave my life to Christ 10 years ago in Fresno County Jail that I would graduate from a Christian university, I’d have said you were crazy,” he said. “If you had told me when I was down-range in Iraq that I would graduate from a Mennonite school, I’d have called a medivac for your head injury.”
Instead, today not only is Warren doing those things, he is blazing a trail for his family. “My daughter is attending FPU,” he said. “I’m just so grateful to God that bumblebees can fly.”
Vasquez talked about learning she was more than a basketball player. “I’m a daughter, a sister…and most of all, a child of God,” she said.
Words of encouragement from Graciela Perez, Ph.D., associate professor and program director of Spanish, explained the seeds attendees were given as they entered the baccalaureate. These seeds represent the seeds God gives each of us, and has given the graduates. We don’t choose how many seeds God puts in our hand, she said. “But each seed is enough.”
Perez urged the graduates to remember Ecclesiastes 11:4: “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest,” she said. “Don’t delay—there is a harvest waiting for you.”
Residence Director Tyjuan Gibson gave a spoken-word presentation titled “Rearview Mirror.” “This is for you who still don’t know who you are—I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said.
Other speakers included Angulus Wilson, university pastor and chief diversity officer, and Cindy Jurado, director of diversity and inclusion. Ending good wishes were presented in Spanish, English and Tagalog.