APU Welcomes New Alumni: Class of 2006

by Katelyn Noll '07

On Saturday, May 2, 2006, more than 1,000 students of Azusa Pacific University became alumni. There were two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, both held in the Cougar Stadium on APU's East Campus.

The Graduate and Adult Professional Studies commencement was held at 9:30 a.m., and the Undergraduate Commencement was at 6 p.m. More than 600 graduates participated in the morning ceremony. The APU Combined Band, directed by Donavon Gray, DMA, performed the prelude and processional. Assistant Professor of Music and Director of APU’s Gospel Choir Kimasi Browne, Ph.D., offered the Invocation, and Bel Canto Women’s Choir, directed by David Hughes, Ph.D., performed two special songs. Kevin R. Compton, general partner of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, addressed the graduates with “Five Simple Things,” giving them advice on happy, healthy living.

He advised them to live by the Golden Rule, have a sense of urgency, make an effort to become great despite setbacks, think big, and think small. Living by the Golden Rule is “something that torments me every day, and I love it,” said Compton.

It was an especially significant day for APU President Jon Wallace and his family, as two of his sons received diplomas: in the morning, David received his Master of Business Administration, and in the evening Matthew earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Approximately 550 students walked in the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony in the evening.

John C. Ortberg, Ph.D., gave an address titled “Marching Orders.” Before beginning, he told his listeners that the university’s record for the shortest commencement speech was 9 minutes, 22 seconds (the longest was 57 minutes), and promised to break that record. “This will be the shortest commencement address in the history of Azusa Pacific University,” he said.

In his speech that encouraged graduates to keep working hard because the best part of their lives are still ahead of them, Ortberg broke the record with nine seconds to spare, earning him many laughs and tremendous applause. Following the address, President Wallace presented the Ronald Award, given each year to one graduating senior who exhibits excellent academic achievement and outstanding character, to Danielle Pruitt. Pruitt was the recipient of a Board of Trustees Scholarship, a full-tuition award given to five incoming freshmen every year, and completed her undergraduate studies with a grade point average of 3.97.

As a recipient of the Ronald Award, Pruitt was given $1,000. President Wallace thanked family and friends of the graduates for all of the encouragement and support they offered and promised that “The APU Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff will observe from a distance the remarkable difference that all of you will make in this world.”