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Above and Beyond Celebratino 2018

The Above and Beyond Celebration held April 11, 2018, in Grace Covell Hall, honored the accomplishments of 33 non-traditional students from across the university who are earning their bachelor's degree at Commencement on May 12.

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Pacific News

Above and Beyond event celebrates achievements of non-traditional students

Apr 25, 2018

The Above and Beyond Celebration, held each year before Commencement, is an event that brings together graduating non-traditional undergraduate students from across the university to celebrate their achievements. While all Pacific students follow unique paths to and through their college educations, the non-traditional students honored at the Above and Beyond Celebration are adult learners who are 25 years and older. Most of these 90 students did not follow a direct path from high school to college and straight through to graduation. Some started college as traditional students, but life events, work or other opportunities intervened; others followed a different path and arrived at college later in life.  

Above and Beyond Celebration

At this event, Pacific celebrates the accomplishments of these students who have successfully juggled the demands of being a student alongside of the responsibilities of being spouses, parents, full-time workers, and active community members. Among the students honored for 2018, more than one first enrolled in college more than 25 years ago, several have attended at least three other institutions, most have full-time work experience including military service. More than half are first-generation college students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college. Twenty of them are parents, and a third of that number are single parents. All have brought to Pacific valuable life experience and varied perspectives that have enhanced their own education and enriched the classroom environment for their classmates and their professors. 

Almost unanimously, these students report that the biggest challenge they faced in their time at Pacific was the school/work/family/life balance. But now that the finish line is in sight they all say that it was worth it, and not just because of the degree. 

One of the graduates will get the ultimate Mothers' Day gift this year; she and her daughter both will graduate from Pacific at Commencement on May 12. Another student noted, "There is enjoyment and confidence in working hard towards a vision. Putting in effort and pushing your comfort zone builds you and that is worth more than the degree."  

Many also cited the importance of the support of so many faculty and other members of the university community who have taught and mentored them, guided and prodded them, pushed them to succeed, and helped pull them over the finish line. 

Andrew Cardwell congratulated by Jonathan LattaAndrew Cardwell is earning his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Performance at the Conservatory of Music and is headed to a teaching assistantship at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, where he will work toward a master's degree. He eventually hopes to open a nonprofit brass and percussion studio and offer free music lessons to young people. He expressed his thanks to Jonathan Latta, Chief of Staff to the President and former assistant dean of the Conservatory and lecturer in percussion. "He helped me understand my capabilities as a musician and inspired me to continue pushing forward when times have been tough," said Cardwell.

Dean Fraden congratulates Mallory AlorroMallory Alorro, completing her bachelor's degree with a double major in history and social sciences in the College of the Pacific, is planning to enter the teaching credential program in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. She expressed her thanks to the entire history department. "Every professor helped me regain confidence in my academics and helped me find my footing," Alorro said.

Pacific congratulates these students upon their upcoming graduation, and honors their perseverance and commitment to achieving their dreams. 

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