By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau
For the six years that Jennifer Girl has organized commencement ceremonies at Grand Canyon University, she has held fast to an all-encompassing goal.
“Commencement is for the students,” said Girl, director of campus events. “We do everything we can to make it special for them and their families. It’s their day.”
This spring’s six ceremonies for nearly 5,250 students and their 30,000 guests are no exception. Planned by Girl and her staff with military precision, they combine pomp and circumstance with efficiency.
Two commencement ceremonies are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily from Thursday to Saturday in GCU Arena.
This year’s speaker is Jade Simmons, a pianist and self-proclaimed “purpose pusher” who also headlined GCU’s 2016 fall commencement.
Simmons, a former first runner-up in the 2000 Miss America pageant, again is expected to weave together inspiration and music.
“She’s someone who speaks from the heart,” Girl said.
Student speakers for traditional commencement ceremonies include Luis Fernando Ruiz, who is receiving a music degree from the College of Fine Arts and Production, and Bethany Wilson, who is receiving an elementary education degree from the College of Education.
GCU President Brian Mueller will address graduates at all ceremonies. Dr. Hank Radda, GCU’s provost, will confer the degrees, and Dr. Tim Griffin, GCU’s pastor and dean of students, will give the invocation and benediction. Critical Mass, a 14-member GCU a cappella ensemble, will perform beforehand.
The Arena will open two hours before each commencement. Visitors attending the 9 a.m. ceremonies will park in the garage at 29th Avenue and Camelback Road, and the 2 p.m. attendees will be directed to the garage at 33rd and Camelback. Game Day parking will be in effect for GCU employees.
Graduates and their guests are welcome to walk around campus or take a guided tour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday, starting at the Antelope Reception Center in the Arena.
The spring commencement schedule:
- 9 a.m. Thursday: Colangelo College of Business, College of Fine Arts and Production, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- 2 p.m. Thursday: College of Education, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, College of Theology
Nontraditional (Online/cohort) students
- 9 a.m. Friday: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- 2 p.m. Friday: College of Doctoral Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
- 9 a.m. Saturday: Colangelo College of Business, College of Fine Arts and Production, College of Theology
- 2 p.m. Saturday: College of Education
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Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or email@example.com.