Bypass the primary and secondary navigation and continue reading the main body of the page

Cultural Celebration for Class of 2024

Multicultural Graduation 2024

Dozens of grandparents, great-grandparents, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, mentors, professors, and other supporters who shared in the journey of graduating students or who were there in spirit were acknowledged during an intimate gathering over the weekend. 

“My culture and family role models have made me who I am – a proud Columbian, Mexican American woman. My success is their success,” said Jocelyn Castaneda, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology. 

About 150 graduates each took a moment to thank their personal communities in this year’s Multicultural Graduation, a celebration of culture and academic achievements preceding the May 25th commencement ceremony. Some shared their love and gratitude in their native or ancestral language even President Pardis Mahdavi, who welcomed the crowd of about 300 in Persian and served as the keynote speaker.  

“I am grateful that we can offer you this space to show your gratitude and celebrate your heritage before your momentous graduation…it is so healing to see our different communities and cultures coming together in celebration today,” said Mahdavi. “As the world faces immeasurable strife and difficulties that threaten to tear us apart, I’m grateful that we can gather in this moment, embrace our cultures and the beautiful differences therein, and hold space for every member of our university community.”  

The Saturday morning celebration opened with a procession led by Afro-Brazilian drummers and dancers from the Viver Brasil Dance Company. The Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion overflowed with upbeat rhythms and excitement for the honorees. After the graduate messages, Stephanie Hancock ’16, president of the alumni advisory board, advised graduates to reflect on the University of La Verne experience and be intentional about their next steps in life. She suggested that they stay connected with Alumni Services resources, mentors and other opportunities to coach and continue to be lifelong learners.  

“Everyone has a pen that writes the next chapter of their life. You are either going to write what’s familiar or create what you want to be different,” she shared. 

And finally, she advised, “Be a force to be reckoned with when you are in that workplace.” 

See the recording of the celebration.

More from Mahdavi speech… 

President Mahdavi


“Graduates, you have inherited the strengths, wisdom, creativity, courage, intelligence, and resourcefulness of the generations before you. You, like me, come from a long line of warriors, leaders, and changemakers. You are here because of the collective good decisions your ancestors have made. How fortunate are we to be preceded by so many generations of fighters, of brilliant minds, of collective wisdom, and yes of survivors? Your presence is a remarkable gift, and now it is your turn to pass along these intergenerational strengths to all those who come after you.”