Westcliff Celebrates Its Largest Ever Graduating Class AND Year of Highest Athletic Achievement
IRVINE, CALIF. (JUNE 27, 2023) – Westcliff University, a premier global higher education institution, celebrated its 2023 commencement event on June 9. The ceremony commemorated Westcliff’s largest-ever graduating class with over 950 graduates from around the globe, including students from Dubai, Jordan and Nepal. Over 200 graduates attended the ceremony in person, and guest speaker and honorary doctoral degree recipient astronaut Captain Robert Lee “Hoot” Gibson, energized the crowd with gripping tales from the final frontier of space, while Westcliff University president Dr. Anthony Lee and a number of student speakers shared thought-provoking and inspirational words of wisdom.
“Consider how your next actions can change industries, inspire the next generation of talent and shape the world as we know it,” said Dr. Lee. He went on to explain the importance of making choices that bring happiness and fulfillment and encouraged graduates to forge ahead with optimism and pride, while never forgetting humility and compassion. “These are qualities that have served me well as President of Westcliff University, and I believe they will be keys to your future success as well.”
In a nod to Westcliff’s highly successful sports program, he added, “Some of you used your strength to excel not just in the classroom, but also on the playing field, earning individual and team accolades as part of the athletics program – including Westcliff’s first two national championships!”
Westcliff’s fast-dominating athletics department seized 13 championships in the last two years alone, including a national title at the National Cheerleading Association Championship in the advanced large coed division, and another national title at the Men’s Beach Volleyball American Volleyball Coaches Association Fall Collegiate National Championship. Women’s soccer beat the previously undefeated Embry-Riddle to win the Cal Pac Tournament championship; men’s basketball triumphed over UC Merced to win the Cal Pac Tournament championship; women’s beach volleyball earned Westcliff’s first back-to-back Cal Pac Championships; and both the men’s and women’s tennis programs aced their regular seasons and tournaments as champions.
Captain Gibson encouraged graduates to adapt and learn from setbacks. The guest speaker reinvented himself throughout his career, from TOPGUN combat pilot, to test pilot, space shuttle commander, Reno air racing champion and current speed record holder and spoke about recognizing new opportunities for advancement and achieving ever higher career goals. “Be positive and follow your dreams,” he encouraged. “Don’t ever count yourself out of the running for anything!” Gibson will continue to inspire students by participating in the upcoming fall Westcliff University Distinguished Innovator Series interview with Dr. Barry Sandrew and a virtual student question and answer session.
Graduating student speakers included Emilio Quemada, BBA and MBA and Reem Albakeer, MBA. An international student from Spain, Quemada created a tech company during his time at Westcliff and will continue to grow the business after graduation. “My time in the MBA program shaped me; I learned more than I ever thought possible. I have been challenged, supported and inspired by a community that is second to none,” he said, encouraging his fellow graduates to go forward and strive for excellence and embrace the opportunities ahead. Albakeer, a Westcliff student ambassador from Jordan, expressed her joy to graduate, as well as her sadness to leave. “Today my story ends, and a new student’s story begins. My ambition stands towering before me, and I am determined to reach the pinnacle, just as my university taught me,” she said. “I raise my cap in reverence to this magnificent institution.”
As the commencement came to a spirited conclusion, proud graduates dispersed ready to embrace their futures, taking with them Dr. Lee’s closing words: “I urge you all to embrace the power of forward thinking. The future is inevitable. Today, you are a clean slate for your future selves.”
About Westcliff University: Westcliff University is an innovative global higher education institution with its finger on the pulse of the international business landscape and the needs of today’s employers. Founded in 1993 and based in Irvine, Calif., it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees spanning 21 areas of study including business, education, technology, computer science and engineering – and most recently law with the acquisition of Western State College of Law. Westcliff is a California Public Benefit Corporation which affirms its dedication to operating in the best interests of its students and the surrounding community. With more than 5,000 enrolled students, its programs focus on both the hard and soft skills needed to secure quality jobs in high-growth industries; it offers community and business engagement opportunities for the hands-on experience today’s students require; and it provides innovative and affordable programs live online and in classrooms across the globe. Visit www.westcliff.edu to learn more, and follow Westcliff on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.