A Graduate's Story

by Sean Fitzpatrick '04

“Whatever you do, do not lose those cards with your name on them,” I heard a voice say. I was standing in line with my friends, dressed in a black gown, and a silly hat with a tassel that no one seemed to know which side to put it. Azusa Pacific seniors were abuzz as we marched toward Cougar Stadium. It was odd; I didn’t hear they were playing Pomp and Circumstance for us until I realized that we're today's graduates, who, after four years, were finally the ones marching in to the music. I heard several people yell my name, and waved in the general direction of the noise.

We sat down - me next to my fiancée and the first friend I ever made at APU. The speeches of Matt Abney ’04, APU’s ASB president, and President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, were memorable. Renowned Christian author Lee Strobel also spoke, challenging graduates with his message. It pierced my heart when he encouraged us to go into the world and make a difference for the Kingdom as did Christians before us.

We stood, and after President Wallace conferred upon us our bachelor’s degrees, it dawned on me what just happened. I had earned a college degree. I watched as my fellow classmates crossed the stage to receive a diploma, cheering loudly for my friends as they shook President Wallace’s hand.

Commencement is a day I will always remember. As I walked to meet my family, exuberant about the fact that I had just graduated from college, I reflected on my achievement and the years of learning that took place at APU, in academics and in life.

APU's commencement exercises took place Saturday, May 8, with 568 undergraduates receiving bachelor's degrees at the evening ceremony. APU also awarded degrees to 442 graduate, 182 degree completion, and 13 doctoral students at the morning ceremony.