When Lynne Ashbeck gave the fall commencement speech at Fresno Pacific University, she spoke not in her role as Mayor of Clovis, member of the university board or regional vice president for the Hospital Council of Northern and Central, but as a fellow FPU graduate. "I know that my life was fundamentally different because of my time at Fresno Pacific," she said. "Today we celebrate the transformation and renewal of your mind, your spirit and your faith."
Ashbeck, who earned her M.A. in peacemaking and conflict studies in 2012, addressed about 250 new graduates in the Special Events Center on the main FPU campus. The class included 131 graduates of the bachelor's degree completion program, 74 graduate students, 45 from the traditional undergraduate program and one from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.
FPU provides lasting lessons in a world of instant everything that honors the immediate and the momentary, Ashbeck said. Among those lessons:
· In all things operate from the common good. "Today the conversation…is not so much about ways to define or improve our communities, as to lament what has happened to them," she said.
· Faith is a verb that requires action. "Not just any action, not just occasional action, but daily acts, large and small, defined by principled choices," she said. "It may be the congruence between our words and our actions that is the true measure of our faith and our FPU experience."
· Wanting to do good things is different than getting them done. "Performance matters, competency matters. FPU grads have a reputation for competence," she said.
· Ask the right questions. "Symptoms are easier to find, but they hide the real problem and keep us from finding meaningful solutions," she said. "Defining underlying problems, addressing root causes and focusing on outcomes is what we need, and what you are uniquely positioned to provide."
· Honor the humanity of those around us. "Particularly those who…are the least, the last and the lost. Lift them up and rejoice in that moment," she said. "My best moments as an elected official…are when humanity is tested, and rises to the occasion."
Oh, by the way—celebrate! "What you have achieved honors you and your professors. How you have achieved it honors God and your families," Ashbeck said. "I look forward to the difference we will make in our communities, together, in the light of Christ and through the lessons from Fresno Pacific University."
Other speakers included FPU President Pete C. Menjares, Ph.D.; Stephen Varvis, Ph.D., provost; and John Thiesen, chair, FPU Board of Trustees. Tracy Neufeld, Global MBA graduate, gave the invocation and Vivian Gayles, Ed.D., assistant professor of teacher education, read Scripture.
To watch a video of commencement, go to http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/fpuadmin.portal#and click On Demand.