Skip to content
Pacific Graduates at Commencement

  • Print

Four commencements in three cities to honor more than 2,000 new graduates

May 4, 2015

University of the Pacific is expected to confer 2,029 degrees during four commencement ceremonies in three cities over the next six weeks, celebrating a graduating class that includes 198 new attorneys, 201 new pharmacists, some 455 liberal arts majors, and more than 232 new engineers and computer scientists.

"I am extremely proud of this year's class of outstanding Pacific graduates," said Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck. "These students have worked hard to prepare for leadership in their careers and in their lives. They've been mentored by some of the most brilliant and dedicated faculty anywhere, and I am excited for those grads to go make their impact on the world."

Members of the Class of 2015 are moving on to internships, jobs and graduate schools, and other new adventures close to home and around the world. Three will be helping children struggling in poverty by teaching for a nonprofit that puts college students and recent grads in high-need classrooms. Another will be returning to Bermuda to continue research on that nation's history. One graduating senior was the only student in the San Joaquin Angels 2015 Entrepreneur Challenge, and he won that intense competition with a business plan to raise free-range rabbits.

Successful Pacific student-athletes are also represented in the Class of 2015. Among them is a graduating senior who won the last ever U.S. Amateur Public Links tournament, which allowed him to play in The Masters and be named the West Coast Conference's Golfer of the Year. Six members of the national champion Pacific Rugby Football Club are also graduating.

The largest of the university's four commencements will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton campus. Diploma and hooding ceremonies for six of Pacific's schools will be held throughout the day.

The guest commencement speaker will be Morrison C. England Jr., chief judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California, member of the Pacific Board of Regents, and a graduate of both College of the Pacific and University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Born in St. Louis and raised in Sacramento, Judge England transferred to Pacific on a football scholarship and earned a bachelor of arts degree in pre-law in 1977. His success on the field led to a tryout and signing a free-agent contract with the New York Jets and coaching opportunities. He coached at California State University, Fullerton. He then taught and was an assistant football coach at Sacramento State while attending McGeorge at night before graduating in 1983. He was a partner in a Sacramento law firm when then-Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the Sacramento Municipal Court in 1996. The following year England was named to the Sacramento Superior Court. President George W. Bush nominated him in 2002 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Shannel Hawkins, of Tracy and who will receive a bachelor's of science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship, will be the student speaker this year. Hawkins contributed to the Pacific student experience by promoting concerts for ASuop Arts and Entertainment and volunteering for a variety of organizations, including the Pacific Black History Month Committee, Black Student Union, Black Campus Ministry, and the Pacific Multicultural Center. Along the way she was recognized as Stockton's Female Leader of Color for 2014, Exceptional Woman of Color Award in Arts and Culture for 2014, and A True Pacific Student Leader for 2013, among others. She is also a member of the Alpha Phi Fraternity.

After the morning commencement, graduates will receive their individual diplomas at six afternoon school ceremonies. Following centuries-old ritual, undergraduates in simple black robes will sweep the tassels on their mortarboards from right to left, and new Ph.D.s will receive hoods lined in orange and black and trimmed in a color denoting their field of doctoral study.

Health sciences

In addition to more than 200 doctor of pharmacy degrees, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will confer 34 doctor of physical therapy, 28 master's degrees in speech-language pathology, and more than 30 additional undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in science and applied sciences.

Sandra R. Hernández, president and CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation, will deliver the keynote address. Hernández became president and CEO of the foundation in January 2014. She oversees an independent foundation with assets of more than $700 million. Headquartered in Oakland, it is dedicated to improving the health of the people of California.

Commencement ceremonies for Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Science graduates will be 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at Alex G. Spanos Center.


The Pacific McGeorge School of Law commencement includes juris doctor degrees going to 198 new attorneys. The school will confer master of laws degrees (LLM) on another 15 students and seven students will graduate with the school's new master of science in law degree (MSL).

The commencement speaker is The Honorable Daniel Flores of the San Francisco Superior Court. Flores earned his juris doctor at McGeorge in 2001.

McGeorge School of Law will hold commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento.


The final event is the June 14 commencement of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco.

Some 200 graduates will be awarded doctor of dental surgery degrees, bachelor of science degrees in dental hygiene, master of science degrees in orthodontics, and certificates of completion in advanced oral and maxillofacial surgery, among others. In keeping with school tradition, there will not be a guest commencement speaker.

The Pacific commencement season concludes with the ceremony for the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California St., San Francisco.

More honors

Pacific awards its highest honors to distinguished individuals within and beyond the campus community during commencement season. Among the honors to be bestowed this spring:

  • Xiaojing Zhou, professor of English and director of the Ethnic Studies program, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. One faculty member each year is selected for this honor, which recognizes outstanding accomplishment in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the university.
  • Three people will receive the Order of the Pacific, which recognizes members of the university who have given distinguished service and made outstanding contributions to the university over a significant number of years. They include Louise Stark, associate dean in the School of Engineering and Computer Science; Simalee Smith-Stubblefield, associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and, posthumously, Caroline Cox, former professor of history in the College of the Pacific.

More commencement celebrations

Other celebrations will highlight Pacific's rich diversity:

Wednesday, May 6:    Lavender Graduation in the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni  House

Friday, May 8:            Latina/o Graduation at Grace Covell Banquet Hall

Friday, May 8:            Interfaith Baccalaureate Ceremony at Morris Chapel

The Black Alumni Pacific Club hosted a reception for new graduates at the Vereschagin Alumni House on the Stockton campus on Sunday, May 3.

Class of 2015 overview

Statistical highlights of the new graduating class (numbers do not include the McGeorge School of Law or Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry):

  • New graduates range in age from 18 to 66.
  • 26 are veterans or the children of veterans.
  • 972 are women; 637 are men.
  • 18 are Native American; 49 are African American; 179 are Hispanic; 559 are Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 649 are non-Hispanic white; 72 identify themselves as multi-ethnic; and 83 are listed as other.
  • The Gladys L. Benerd School of Education awarded 272 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
  • The College of the Pacific, the university's arts and sciences college, awarded 455 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Conservatory of Music awarded 48 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Eberhardt School of Business awarded 176 undergraduate degrees, 18 MBAs and its first 28 master of accounting degrees.
  • The School of Engineering and Computer Science awarded 232 bachelor's and master's degrees in fields ranging from bioengineering to engineering physics.

About University of the Pacific
Established in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 majors in seven schools. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and new graduate programs in health, food, music, and technology fields, and in Sacramento, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and planned graduate programs in public policy, health care and business. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |

Visit our newsroom to see this and other news from University of the Pacific:

Join University of the Pacific on: Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Youtube