by Christie Reed
Culminating the 1995 school year with its annual commencement celebration, the University of La Verne will hold the ceremony on Sunday, May 28, but the series of activities for seniors and their families will begin on Saturday, May 27.
Ruby Cordova, associate dean of student life, said the event is “more than an opportunity to process; it gives the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the seniors who are graduating.”
The commencement includes two ceremonies; one for the undergraduates at 9:30 a.m. and another for the graduate students at 4 p.m. Both will be held in Ortmayer Stadium.
“It will be a full weekend and we expect the stadium to be packed,” said Cordova.
At the undergraduate service they expect anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 attendees, including main campus and off-campus students, family members and guests. Only about 205 students will be traditional undergraduates.
“When you look around the stadium you will see just how far the University reaches,” said Cordova, “Seniors here on campus will see a lot of strange faces.”
Cordova estimates that about 6,000 people will be present at the afternoon ceremony.
“These numbers are inclusive of the students and their guests. We usually ask that· students limit themselves to bringing 8-10 guests, but some will bring more,” said Cordova.
There is no charge to attend commencement and the seating is on a first come, first served basis, with reserved seating for special guests upon request.
The cap, gown and hood distribution will take place in the Old Gym starting on Wednesday, May 24, and run through Sunday.
The events begin on Saturday with the baccalaureate service at the La Verne Church of the Brethren at 4 p.m.
Dr. Robert Lewis, Jr., assistant pastor and psychologist, will present his sermon entitled, “Steps of faith.”
“Dr. Robert Lewis is husband to Harvel Lewis, coordinator of minority student affairs, a ULV alumnus and is very active with student groups here on campus; he is also a wonderful role model for African American men here on campus,” said Judy Georges, campus minister and chair of the baccalaureate committee.
Performances by a bell choir and an original composition by senior Joel Gingrich will add to the worship service.
Immediately following the baccalaureate at 6 p.m., the Graduates’ Dinner will begin on the front lawn of Founders Hall. The meal is free for all graduates and $14 for each guest.
“The meal will include live music this year rather than tapes,” said Cordova. There will also be other forms of live entertainment, including dancing.
Sunday will open with “A Traditional Country Fare Breakfast,” courtesy of Aramark. The meal selections range from omelets to chicken fried steak and will cost $8.95 for adults. (including graduates) and $5.50 for children.
Seating for the undergraduate commencement begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by the robings.
Roger Barkley, radio personality and restaurateur, will speak at the morning commencement, while Renee Campbell, 1977 La Verne graduate, will speak at the graduate ceremony.
Cordova takes pride in the ability of UL V to mix formality and pomp with an enjoyable celebration.
“We planned a commencement that graduates will be proud of and enjoy. We hope it is significant to the importance of their day,” said Cordova.