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La Verne Celebrates Class of 2024

A spirit of gratitude, perseverance, hope for the future and accomplishment was shared during  baccalaureate, hooding and commencement ceremonies celebrating the University of La Verne’s nearly 1,700 graduates throughout the weekend.  

Thousands packed Ortmayer Athletics Complex on the university’s historic campus in La Verne during two commencement ceremonies held Saturday, May 25. Renowned transformational leadership expert Yasmin Davidds addressed master’s and doctoral students, while alumnus and local human services champion Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo 11’ addressed undergraduates, including the first cohort of RN to BSN students.  

This was the first commencement season for Pardis Mahdavi, the university’s 19th president.  

“There will no doubt be moments of success, failure, rebounding, understanding and defining your identity,” President Mahdavi said prior to sharing her family’s secret recipe for life success that Persian warrior women have perfected over generations. “Trust the process of permitting yourself to fall freely and land on your own definition of success.”

Valerie Cummings, associate professor of broadcast journalism, and Veronica Escoffery-Runnels , associate professor of psychology and chair of the Educational Counseling and School Psychology program served as this year’s mace bearers. Student speakers included Kylie Cortez, BS kinesiology, and Olivia Arias, MS educational counseling

Among the graduates was Jared Barnes, 26, who wore a tassel with his mother’s picture as a way of honoring the strongest woman he said he has known. He lost her to scleroderma at the age of 13.  Since then,  he has faced a number of hardships, including experiencing homelessness multiple times and struggling with his mental health and wellbeing. But today, he celebrates his accomplishments with her in spirit.  Today, he is a champion of the California Community Colleges ‘I CAN’ campaign and mentor for several groups including the university’s men’s basketball team and summer REACH business camp. He was also recently selected to join Team USA for the 2024 Pankration (an ancient form of martial arts) World Championships in Romania. And now, he has earn his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

Congratulations to the class of 2024! Watch the recordings of all  commencement celebrations now.