A Multi-Faith Ceremony To Celebrate the Core Values of our Students and the University

Baccalaureate is a multi-faith ceremony and a formal occasion to celebrate our graduates and to affirm the core values of our students and the University.  The ceremony includes readings and music from a diversity of religious and philosophical traditions.  The ceremony is led by University dignitaries, the University Chaplain, graduating students, and musical groups.  Graduates and faculty process in and out in their regalia.

All graduating students and their families and friends are invited to attend Baccalaureate. There is no seating limit and guest tickets are not required.

For more information, contact Reverend Zandra Wagoner, Ph.D, University Chaplin, ext. 4446,

2015 Speaker: Najeeba Sayeed
“Healing the World: Tools for Interfaith Peacemaking”

MG_0791CNajeeba Syeed is a professor at Claremont School of Theology and director of the Center for Global Peacebuilding. She is recognized as a leader in peacebuilding and twice received the Jon Anson Ford Award for reducing violence in schools and in the area of interracial gang conflicts and was named the Southern California Mediation Association’s “Peacemaker of the Year” in 2007. She has chaired national conferences on Muslim and Interfaith Peacebuilding, served as a mediator in many cases, and has started meditation programs at several schools. Her expertise as a peacemaker has made her a sought out advisor for state, federal and White House initiatives, and in international conflicts in Guam, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, India and France.

2014 Speaker: Monsignor Clement J. Connolly

img012Known in Southern CA for his commitment to social and economic justice, Msgr. Clement J. Connolly is a Catholic priest who served as pastor of Holy Family Church in South Pasadena from 1984 until 2010. He continues to serve Holy Family as Director of Spirituality. Born in Ireland, Msgr. Clement J Connolly graduated from St. Patrick College in Thurles, Ireland and was ordained to the priesthood in June 1964. Missioned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he served as secretary for two cardinals, and has assisted the Archdiocese in official capacities throughout the years. Known for his thought-provoking homilies, we are honored to welcome Msgr. Connolly as our 2014 Baccalaureate Speaker.

2013 Speaker: Dr. Joanna Brooks

Dr.  Joanna Brooks is a national voice on faith in American life and an award-winning scholar of religion and American culture. She has recently published The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories From an American Faith.  In 2012-13,  she became an important media source on Mormonism during the recent Presidential election, and an important voice for interfaith collaboration.  Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, Dr. Brooks has been featured on CNN, NPR, The Daily Show, MSNBC, and PBS, is a contributor to the Washington Post and Huffington Post, and has been utilized as a source for Newsweek, New York Times, Reuters and Associated Press.   She is a senior correspondent for and has been named one of “50 Politicos to Watch” by and one of “13 Religious Women to Watch” by the Center for American Progress.  Dr. Brooks’ Baccalaureate address is titled “Moving On.

2012 Speaker: Van Jones

Van Jones is founding president of Rebuild the Dream, a pioneering initiative to restore good jobs and economic opportunity.  He is co-founder of three thriving organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. Jones is the author of the New York Times best seller, The Green Collar Economy, and has just published his newest book, Rebuild the Dream.  A Yale-educated attorney, he served as the green jobs special advisor to the Obama White House. Time Magazine has named Jones one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and is one of this generation’s eloquent speakers for social and environmental justice.

2011 Speaker: Father Gregory Boyles

Father Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the Founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention and re-entry program in the country. Fr. Boyle and Homeboy Industries serves thousands of clients from all over Los Angeles, providing positive alternatives for gang-involved youth.  Fr. Boyle is also the author of the 2010 best-selling book, Tattoos on The Heart