Celebrating the successful academic and spiritual journey of more than 1,300 students, the 2012 Azusa Pacific University commencement ceremonies on May 5 conferred degrees upon 684 undergraduate, 491 graduate, and 153 adult and professional studies students.
These new APU alumni now enter the next phase of their lives equipped not only with increased earning potential and marketability in the workplace, but also the invaluable advantages of whole-student development, faith integration, intercultural experiences, and research opportunities.
Encouraging the graduates as they prepare to become difference makers for Christ, Shauna Niequist, author of Bittersweet and daughter of well-known Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels, spoke at both ceremonies. A favorite APU chapel speaker among the students, Niequist addressed the graduating classes at the request of the Student Government Association. Niequist, who writes and speaks about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life—friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all things that reveal the heart of God—addressed “Forces of Nature,” illustrating important life lessons for students reaching this milestone.
Another commencement highlight was the culmination of four simultaneous years at APU for the Abella quadruplets. While each experienced APU differently and chose a unique academic path, these undergraduates graduated side by side as their parents, both Salvation Army ministers, watched with pride. Daniel, a business/marketing major; David, a graphic design major; Sarah, an athletic training major; and Naomi, a global studies major, all expressed gratitude for their time spent on campus, living and learning together. “Each of us grew in our faith at APU,” said Daniel. “We discovered who we were as individuals while maintaining our close bond. The college years have been an incredible journey, and commencement is a mile marker for the four of us. We reached this goal together, which amazes us all.”