Donning the traditional cap and gown along with bountiful leis and sashes, and uniquely decorated mortarboards, members of Whittier College’s class of 2019 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas earlier today.
Family members, friends, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees cheered on the nearly 400 graduates.
In her first Whittier College Commencement, President Linda Oubré welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
“The class of 2019 is a remarkable group,” said Oubré as she addressed the crowd. “It includes artists and athletes, activists and scientists, dedicated scholars, and talented performers, educators, and educators-to-be. Here on campus, these students have been united by opportunity and their learning experiences—in and outside of the classroom. Members of the class of 2019, today commemorates your hard work, dedication, and determination to earn your Whittier degree.”
Accomplished business woman, entrepreneur, and stalwart community leader Maria Salinas addressed the graduating class as the honored speaker. During her speech, she shared her own career path and gave words of advice to the graduates.
“When you find yourself in your darkest moments, remember that you are a Whittier College graduate, equipped with principles and values that can shine a light on those moments,” said Salinas, who is president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I wish you great success. As you close out your time here at Whittier, I know that you will take with you your memories, your friendships, and, most importantly, the values of a Whittier College education so that you can live your life with meaning and purpose.
During the ceremony, Salinas received an honorary doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.). Honorary degrees are Whittier’s highest honor, reserved for individuals whose lives personify the convictions, ambitions, values, and accomplishments celebrated at the College.
Lydia Kennard, president and CEO of KDG Construction Consulting, the largest and oldest African-American architecture firm in Los Angeles, also received an honorary degree.
Detrick Manning ’19, who majored in political science, served as this year’s Commencement student speaker. “We may become emotional as we realize that many of the moments that we experienced on campus every day will fade into distant memories as we embark on the journey of the rest of our lives. That being said, just because our experiences here will inevitably become memories does not mean that they will become insignificant. We met our best friends, studied across the world, found our soul mates, and created unbreakable bonds with our incredible professors. But even more so, our time here has shown that we, the members of the class of 2019, are made up of some of the most persevering people,” said Manning during his speech.