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The Master’s University hosts 97th Annual Commencement  

Over 300 students had the privilege of walking across the stage to commemorate the completion of higher education at The Master’s University at the school’s athletic field on Friday. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
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It’s that time of year again where students are finishing their final assignments and getting their graduation caps ready for a milestone accomplished and a celebration to commemorate it. 

Leading off the graduation season was The Master’s University, which celebrated its 97th Annual Commencement Exercises at the campus athletic field on Friday with 346 graduates participating and hundreds of loved ones cheering on their students for completing a milestone aimed for a better future.  

The field in Placerita Canyon was filled with families holding onto flowers, balloons, and large face cut-outs to cheer on their students once they walked across the stage.  

The graduates, many of whom began their journeys at the private Christian university during the COVID-19 pandemic, were full of joy as they walked down the field to the classic “Pomp and Circumstance” graduation anthem, and some even cheered along with their family members as they found them in the large crowd.  

The Master’s University Chairman Brad Armstrong gives his invocation speech to the hundred of graduates during the 97th annual commencement ceremony at the school’s athletic field on Friday. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
The Master’s University Chairman Brad Armstrong gives his invocation speech to the hundred of graduates during the 97th annual commencement ceremony at the school’s athletic field on Friday. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“This is it, the day you thought would never come … All those years of care packages, Zoom calls, budget bailouts and tuition payments finally boiled down to this,” said Brad Armstrong, chairman of TMU. “Those of you who are here, this may be your first commencement ceremony. Many of you were in high school during the COVID years and didn’t get through graduation.”  

Before TMU President Abner Chou gave his formal congratulations to the 346 graduates, undergrad and graduate students combined, a performance of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” a congregational hymn, was sung live by associate professor of Music Marius Bahnean followed by the audience joining in unison.  

“To the class of 2024, congratulations. You are a resilient class, came in in tremendous challenges and uncertainty and by the grace of God you have prevailed. Job well done,” said Chou, and a wave of applause followed. “To this graduating class, I have often said, ‘You are a delight’ and it is not just because of your time here … it is also because of not just why you are here, but where the Lord will take you and how He will use you, that is our delight.”  

Featured speaker Greg Gifford, TMU assistant professor of Biblical counseling, was met with a large roar of cheers and applause as he gave the commencement address. Gifford’s humorous approach during this speech served as inspiration to the collective of graduates by using words straight from the Bible.  

Greg Gifford shares a humorous,  inspirational commencement address to The Master’s University graduates during Friday’s 97th annual commencement service at the school’s athletic field. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Greg Gifford shares a humorous, inspirational commencement address to The Master’s University graduates during Friday’s 97th annual commencement service at the school’s athletic field. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“How should you think about achievement? When you do something worthy, like successfully completing your degree? … The Bible’s answer to that is my charge to you this evening. When I said achievement, I simply mean a thing done successfully… Graduating is just one thing done successfully … See the Lord produce fruit through you, start a ministry, buy a house, become a missionary,” Gifford said.  

“Achieve worthy, Christ-honoring things, graduates of 2024, learn to pursue the achievement of worthy things. The only things that are truly worthy in this life are things that are truly worthy because they bring honor to Jesus Christ,” he added. “Your degree reflects God’s grace to you, so magnify Him in your achievement tonight. Attempt great things for God and expect great things of God.”  

Luke Fitzgerald began his TMU journey during the fall semester of 2020. His family, college friends, girlfriend and girlfriend’s family were present to celebrate the special night with him as he walked the stage with his fellow classmates in the school of business and communication. 

The Master’s University graduates seek out their family in the large crowd to say hello from afar as they walk to their seats before beginning the commencement ceremony in the school’s athletic field on Friday. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
The Master’s University graduates seek out their family in the large crowd to say hello from afar as they walk to their seats before beginning the commencement ceremony in the school’s athletic field on Friday. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

The communications major had a great time celebrating with his loved ones and congratulating other graduates after the ceremony.  

“Education has its difficulties. It’s meant to be hard. That’s how you learn. But overall, I overcame a lot of fears, a lot of uncertainties. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. And I just learned a lot more and got a lot more clarity about the things that I love. I love writing, I love journalism. I got more clarity on that,” Fitzgerald said in an email to The Signal. He’s hoping to pursue journalism as a career and move to Tennessee.  

“I’ll miss the people. That is definitely something I have been thinking a lot about these last few weeks … People who I love, people who are such a joy to be around, and it’s such a pleasure to talk with,” he added. “I’m going to miss the constant fellowship with other Christians and the constant encouragement. But I’m looking forward to taking that wherever else I go.” 

As The Master’s University students get their moment walking across the stage to commemorate the completion of higher education, families and loved ones cheer on their graduates. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
As The Master’s University students get their moment walking across the stage to commemorate the completion of higher education, families and loved ones cheer on their graduates. 050324 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

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