Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Commencement ceremonies honor three classes in new venue

Students celebrate their hard work during Commencement. They prepare to move their tassel from one side to the other, indicating the earning of their diploma.

At each ceremony, President Krista Newkirk congratulated the graduates and highlighted achievements the University has accomplished this past year, including establishing an Anti-Racism committee, participating in the Global Teach-In on Climate and Justice, beginning operations at the new Arrow Rail line, and welcoming a new mascot, George Willis.  

“The world we live in now is quite different than when you arrived at Redlands, and it will continue to change in the years ahead. You will face challenges that will test you and will require you to use everything you’ve learned,” she shared. “They’ll require not just knowledge but a commitment to truth and the ability to listen to others.” 

School of Education 

The School of Education held the first ceremony on April 21, conferring degrees upon 247 graduates from the class of 2023 and honoring returning graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021.  

In her address to her graduating class, Student Speaker Aja d’Encarnacao ‘23 emphasized the importance of staying committed, resilient, patient, and maintaining a sense of humor while navigating the challenging yet rewarding path of teaching. She reminded her fellow graduates that they “will have the opportunity not only to bring the brightest light into the dark but to ignite a light so powerful in others that its brilliance manifests their absolute greatest.” 

President Newkirk conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to champion of education Garner Holt, founder of the animatronics company Garner Holt Productions, Inc. Holt said, “given the proper tools and encouragement, early immersion in imagination can launch a lifetime of creativity. So always back the students that want to dream and dream big.”  

Civil Rights Activist Sylvia Mendez delivered the commencement address and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Mendez played a key role in Mendez v. Westminster at the age of 8, which helped make California the first state to end school segregation in 1947. Mendez highlighted the importance of learning from your past and using those experiences to help your future. “Have the courage to stand up for your beliefs. Have self-integrity and continue to have determination, commitment, and perseverance.”

To view the School of Education Commencement photos click this link

School of Business and Society

The School of Business held their ceremony in the morning on April 22, conferring degrees upon 330 graduates from the class of 2023 and honoring returning graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021. 

Student Speaker Cynjun Salinas '17, '22, '23, who earned a Master of Science in Business Analytics, said students at the U of R have “the insatiable drive to learn more, do more, and ultimately be more.” Reflecting on the community at Redlands, Cynjun said, “I think of a chaotic, but chorused symphony of different thoughts, beliefs, experiences together to become something more.” He believes breaking boundaries and going beyond the status quo is part of the Redlands experience and will enable alumni to shape the world around them.  

Assemblymember James Ramos of the 45th Assembly District, who is the only California Native Indian elected in state legislature, also received an Honorary Doctor in Humane Letters. He acknowledged the sacrifices the graduates made to be where they are today and the family and friends that helped them along the way. “No one can take away your education, your culture, and spirituality. Those three things make you who you are” Ramos emphasized. The University of Redlands is graduating individuals “that are going to change our community, that are going to change our state, and that are going to change our nation.”  

To view the School of Business and Society Commencement photos click this link

College of Arts and Sciences 

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) held the final commencement, conferring degrees upon 566 graduates from the class of 2023 and honoring returning graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021. 

Student Speaker Danielle Dorotta ‘23, said, “changing the world doesn’t require you to be the biggest, smartest, most talented, or capable person…every action we take, every word we speak, every thought we have creates a ripple in the world. And those ripples can spread far beyond what we can imagine.” She implored her peers to take on this challenge and change the world for the better, together.  

State Representative Pete Aguilar ‘01 of the 33rd District offered the commencement address and received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Aguilar recalled his time at U of R and recognized how a liberal arts education has helped him ask “thoughtful questions, to listen and to learn from people around [him], and to think on [his] feet.” His final advice to students: “there will be no simpler or more profound thing you do in this life than to treat each person you meet how you want to be treated.”  

To view the College of Arts and Sciences Commencement photos click this link