May 1 was the first official day to be known as “Corban University,” instead of Corban College & Graduate School; and the Class of 2010 — its first graduating class. Celebrating and commissioning the graduates were 2000 alumni, Corban personnel, family members and friends who packed the C.E. Jeffers Sports Center to full capacity for Commencement 2010. Special recognition of Corban’s 75 years as an institution was also made by Corban’s three living presidents, the featured speakers of the ceremony.
President Reno Hoff addressed the assembly, “Last year I said, ‘We will see you when we are C.U.’ And, here we are! This is a historic day, and we’re glad you’re all part of it.”
Two hundred thirty-four men and women formed C.U.’s first graduating class, the majority being awarded a bachelor’s degree. The number also included 19 Master of Science in Education degrees and 17 Master of Business Administration degrees. Hoff said of this graduating class, “We can be proud of how they live their lives and make a difference for Jesus Christ.”
Each year the faculty members select one graduating senior as their Distinguished Graduate. Mitchell Emmert, of the traditional undergraduate program, and Pamela Granick, of the Adult Degree Programs, are the 2010 selections. The Distinguished Graduate Award is given to the student who has most exemplified Corban’s four goals for students: a maturing Christian, a competent thinker, an effective communicator, and an involved citizen.
Provost Matt Lucas read about Emmert, whose strong academic performance resulted in a $40,000 per year, full-tuition scholarship to attend law school at Pepperdine University and whose classmates recently voted him Business Student of the Year. Emmert “shows what a Corban student should be by being respectful of his peers, considerate in and out of the classroom, friendly and engaging with others. Mitch is a godly man who works hard and demonstrates the attributes of a humble leader.”
For the first time a Distinguished Graduate Award was also given to one graduate of the Adult Degree Programs. Lucas read that Pamela Granick possesses extraordinary skills in critically processing theories and ideas, analyzing and evaluating, and effective communication. She utilizes these at New Morning Youth and Family Services, and in the important role she plays at the Center for Violence-Free Relationships, in El Dorado County, California.
Herb Farrar Jr., President of Corban from 1946 to 1948, is 101 years old; living in Spokane, Wash., at the time of Commencement. Though unable to attend in person, he recorded a message that was played for the ceremony. “I welcome the news about passing into the university sphere,” he stated. “I thank the Lord for how He has met [us], step by step through the decades, until we’ve reached this momentous time.”
In a message delivered to the graduates, former President David F. Miller (1991–1999) recounted the 75-year “history of miracles” that has brought Corban to its present university status. He said that even when the journey felt long and difficult, God was moving His people. “Like Joshua,” Miller compared, “we wanted to see the promised land.”
Though the University has had eight name changes and four campus relocations, the mission and vision of the founders continues in this day. Hoff shared the biblical meaning of the namesake, which means “a gift dedicated to God.” He explained that Corban represents the highest form of sacrifice under Jewish law; it means that something must die. Jesus demonstrated this in his death on the cross. Hoff encouraged graduates to “take up your cross and follow Jesus.”
Two of these Golden Grads were not only celebrating 50 years as alumni but also 50 years being married. C.J. and Jan Nelson, who were college sweethearts and married the summer after their graduation, relayed how special it was to receive their medallions from Dr. Richard Caulkins, their choir director in 1960.In addition to the Class of 2010, the University recognized the Class of 1960, or 50-year alumni affectionately referred to as “Golden Graduates.” Hoff recognized each one by name and hometown. Nine members were present to receive their double-sided, bronze medallions, which show the Western Baptist Bible College seal on one side and the seal of Corban University on the other.
Mrs. Nelson acknowledged Corban’s “big news.” She said, “Becoming a university — that must be so exciting for you this year. While we were at the college, that was the time it became officially accredited. I remember that being huge for us; as this must be huge for you.”
Graduate Bill DeHaven, an English major, said, “It’s cool because I came in as an early admit with the name change to Corban in 2005; now I’m going out as the name changes to Corban University. It feels like I was here for those five years of transition.” He begins M.Ed. courses at Corban in June while starting a business with his brother and two friends.
Alma Castillo Grijalva, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology through the Adult Degree Programs, said, “What an honor and a privilege it is to be a part of the first graduating class of Corban University. For me, it’s a ‘hallelujah’ moment!”