The 48th Annual Commencement Ceremony at Crafton Hills College was held virtually on Friday, May 22. The ceremony was prerecorded, but the link didn’t go live until 6 p.m. Viewers had a choice to stream the event through Youtube or Facebook through the homepage of the Crafton Hills College website. The event incorporated all traditional elements of the in-person ceremony including individual recognition of the 237 graduates who signed up to participate. The ceremony began with the song “Pomp and Circumstance” while a montage of videos featuring faculty and staff waving and cheering for the graduates set a celebratory tone.
Crafton Hills College President Dr. Kevin Horan was first to congratulate the class of 2020, which happens to be the largest graduating class in the history of the College. In total, the institution had 794 graduates who earned 650 degrees and 631 certificates during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Student senate president and 2020 graduate Tyrone Ross began the ceremony leading the virtual audience in the pledge of allegiance. Ross received an associate degree in Communications and is transferring to UCR majoring in global studies. Ross hopes to learn more about different cultures, policies and economic growth around the world, and his career goal is to become an officer in the military.
Graduate Vanessa Terry provided a beautiful performance of the National Anthem. Terry, a theater arts major, received two theater arts degrees — one with a concentration in performance, the other in technical theater and a fine arts degree. She served as president for the Theater Arts Association Club on campus this semester, and earlier this year performed in the Black History Month opening and closing ceremonies.
A communication studies AA-T degree earner, Karina Lewis, served as the student speaker. Lewis, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Crafton this year, is transferring to CSUSB and will be dual majoring in English and communication studies. Lewis worked at the Crafton Hills Tutoring Center, tutoring in English and communications studies. She was also a member of the Crafton Hills College Honors Institute and the vice-president of the Communications club.
This years’ keynote address was given by Dr. Judith Valles. Valles, former mayor for the city of San Bernardino and published author, expressed to the graduates that they should be proud of themselves and take this opportunity to renew. Valles communicated that the secret to life is to “keep discovering, keep learning, and remembering your purpose.”
The ceremony concluded with an inspirational message from the Crafton Hills College Academic Senate President and sociology professor, Julie McKee. Mckee encouraged this year’s graduates to never give up. She shared the story of Walt Disney as an example of overcoming obstacles and facing challenges while inspiring the graduates to do the same.