GGU News
Graduating students at Commencement 2023
May 31, 2023 |

Festive Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Four Graduating Classes

By Jenny McKeel

“Commencement 2023 was a wonderful day in San Francisco!” said Beau Crowley, Doctor of Business Analytics ’23. 

More than 300 candidates from the classes of 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 attended GGU’s undergraduate and graduate Commencement—a jubilant celebration under clear blue skies—in San Francisco’s Oracle Park on Saturday, April 29th. 

 “My graduation day could not be better as I had my whole family to cheer for me and so many more friends cheering for me virtually!” exclaimed Namrata Neogi, MS IT Management ’23. 

Overjoyed graduates were decked out in both traditional GGU sashes and those proudly representing home countries of the Philippines and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico among others. Educate Black Women read one graduate’s sash who was one of many who customized her regalia, fostering a spirited and festive occasion for all. 

GGU’s Helen Diller Center for Veterans of U.S. Military Service handed out beautiful magnets to military-connected graduates that read Congratulations From Golden Gate University. Giddy candidates waved and blew kisses at family members holding cameras as they took their seats. 

“GGU is inspired by the idea that the path to a degree is not a straight line,” said President David J. Fike in his opening remarks, as gleeful candidates erupted in cheers.  

“Students learn in different ways,” continued President Fike. “They attend multiple institutions along the way to their degree. They acquire multiple real-life experiences along their journey, including experiences serving our country and our armed forces.” 

GGU is unique, affirmed the president, because the University’s founders created this institution for the explicit purpose of serving working adult learners. 

Student speakers Sheena Dhillon-Dhindsa, MA counseling psychology and Joe Leroux, BA in Management reflected on the University’s mission in their remarks, speaking about their experiences, respectively as a first-generation student and a veteran returning to school later in life. 

Esteemed University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business professor, author, and leader of the Smart Village Movement Solomon Darwin addressed graduates. President Fike presented Darwin with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. 

“GGU gave me hope and a future at a time when I had given up on an MBA,” said Darwin, MBA ’80. 

After sharing his own inspiring journey to higher education, Darwin reminded graduates of the importance of serving others. 

“People are facing problems today and we need to solve them and that includes all of us,” said Darwin. “The major ones include poverty, inequality, climate change, health crises, conflict, and violence. These problems require a collective effort. Here is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” 

The powerful ceremony was concluded by Emmanuel Hyppolite, President, Golden Gate University Alumni Association who welcomed graduates to GGU’s 68,000-strong alumni community with an enamel GGU lapel pin and alumni pledge. 

Equally stirring were beaming graduates who gathered outside at the ceremony’s end, posing for photos with family and friends and clutching flower bouquets and stuffed animals. 

“It was an incredible day for me,” reflected Hetal Shah, MS in Financial Analytics ‘23. “I feel immensely proud of myself. I was surrounded by my loved ones both virtually and in person, which made the occasion all the more special. 

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