Family members, friends, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees gathered at Memorial Stadium to celebrate the nearly 400 members of Whittier College’s graduating class of 2018.
Entrepreneur, CEO, fitness instructor, and author Cassey Ho ’09 addressed the graduates and their families as this year’s keynote speaker. During her speech, she shared about her own time at Whittier, her career path, and the journey that led her to be where she is now. “Poets, you and I are cut from the same purple and gold fabric. We were bred on this very same campus by these amazing professors and taught to think outside the box with our liberal arts education,” she told the graduates.
In less than a decade after graduating from Whittier College, Ho has built a health and fitness empire as the CEO of four international brands. She majored in biology and minored in business administration and benefited from Whittier’s interdisciplinary curriculum, learning how to successfully blend her creativity, analytical thinking, communications skills, and entrepreneurial spirit. Time magazine named her “One of the 25 most influential people on the Internet” and her growing success has landed her on the cover of Health magazine. She has also appeared on numerous media outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, People, Seventeen, and the Today show, among others.
Rodolfo “Rudy” Marquez ’18, who majored in political science and minored in organizational leadership, served as this year’s Commencement student speaker. “We’ve learned to be analytical, observant, and interdisciplinary, allowing us to excel and contribute to the world in ways that others won’t,” He told his fellow graduates. “The last four years have taught me to love myself and embrace everything I have to offer. Who you love, the color of your skin, your socio-economic status, your gender identity, and who or what you believe in are not walls, but in fact bridges that help you realize your visions.”
After 13 years of leading the College, retiring President Sharon D. Herzberger delivered her final Commencement speech. In her Charge to the graduating class she reminded them about the classes they took, projects they worked on, clubs they were a part of, and all the friends they made at Whittier. “You have truly earned your degree, and you are prepared for a lifetime of seeking opportunity and grabbing it as it comes your way,” she said. “I charge you to use all of the talents and wisdom you collected here.”
A full recording of the commencement ceremony is available on the Whittier College YouTube channel.