Fresno Pacific University Outstanding Graduates are recognized for their academic achievement, Christian character, leadership potential, service to others and embodiment of the Fresno Pacific Idea. Outstanding Graduates become permanent part of a select group of FPU graduates and retain their distinction as an FPU Outstanding Graduate for life.
Two Outstanding Graduates are selected from each school of the university and from the seminary for both the fall and spring semesters. The dean of each school makes the final selection.
Fall 2021 Recipients
School of Business
Jose Luis Madrigal | B.A. in Business Administration: Organizational Leadership emphasis
Jose is a top student who regularly speaks to how his faith and Christian focus help him in his job as a firefighter and in everyday life. He is a leader in and outside the classroom and has a desire to both grow within his profession and lead like Jesus. He often speaks of how, in his profession, he enjoys serving his community and other communities, not just putting out fires, but comforting, supporting and encouraging those who have been displaced, injured or otherwise traumatized. He clearly demonstrates the heart of a servant leader.
School of Education
Desiree Stumpf |M.A. in Special Education
Desiree is a lifelong Sunbird, and her thesis is: "Lived Experiences of Special Education Teachers of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders." Her study addresses immediate concerns within the special education community, particularly special education teacher attrition. She enjoys helping new teachers in the field of social-emotional education. With her master’s degree in hand, she expects to move into a position within her school district to reach many more teachers and increase our Emotional and Behavior Disorders (EBD) teachers' longevity and quality of life.
Anthony Segura | M.A. in Reading and Language
Anthony has demonstrated outstanding scholarship and a passion for teaching literacy. He is collaborative, supportive and encouraging to those around him and embodies joy, peace and goodness. He recognizes that literacy is a powerful tool for students to connect to and navigate the world around them. He also recognizes that the role of teacher is more than just aligning instruction to standards: it is to motivate students to become lifelong readers and writers who participate fully in the world. His work centered on providing access to literacy through students’ own stories and personal experience, and he focuses on what is within his power to improve.
School of HRSS
Olivia Pacheco | Individualized Master of Arts Program
Olivia was an extraordinary undergraduate who stretched her colleagues and her professors through her interdisciplinary interests, and she has been equally exemplary in her graduate program, even as she worked to find her true calling in her professional career. Her thesis is some of the best-researched work submitted at FPU. She has done a remarkable job of finding sources, using them well and synthesizing large amounts of material into a compelling, articulate and very readable thesis. Her work has been profoundly thoughtful and impressive in every way, and it is of such caliber that it has the potential to be published in the future.
Gillian Lehman | B.A. in Liberal Studies: Spanish Emphasis and B.A. in Spanish
Gillian is an incredibly responsible student, dedicated to gaining as much as she can out of every class. She has a lovely sense of humor and a desire to get to know her classmates. Outside of class, she dedicates a lot of time to serving in her church’s children’s ministry. She has a heart for serving children and plans to obtain a multiple-subject teaching credential with either a bilingual authorization or an added Spanish credential. She is a lifelong learner that operates out of her own passion for learning that is evident in the deep questions that she offers in her interaction with others. Her Spanish thesis is an exemplary model of the union of both of her majors and her passion for bilingual education.
School of Natural Sciences
Hannah Weaver | B.S. in Biology: Environmental emphasis
In addition to strong academic performance on tests and assignments, Hannah has significantly contributed to Fresno Pacific academic and spiritual life in and out of class. She excels in peer teaching and well-crafted presentations that are engaging and insightful. She has also used her organizational, interpersonal and communication skills to give strong leadership to the Shalom Club, the campus club dedicated to issues of environmental and justice concerns; this has had a significant impact helping students with these values have a sense of belonging on our campus.
Caesar Angulo | B.S. in Environmental Sciences
Caesar is an intellectually gifted student who typically places at the top of the class academically, but his other contributions to Fresno Pacific are also notable. Kindness, respect and helpfulness to others in and out of the class characterize his personal interactions. He has been a very strong contributor and positive influence in athletics with professional sports potential, but his post-baccalaureate career goal is in environmental stewardship; this suggests his positive influence will continue into the future.
Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
Jorg Letkemann | M.A. in Community Leadership and Transformation
Jorg has a passion for pursuing the transformation and shalom of his city through innovating new structures that incorporate the strengths of both business and non-profit/community benefit institutions. Using what he learned in seminary, he has been a champion for small business development in the rural communities of the Valley and has served the social enterprises at Fresno Area Community Enterprises (FACE) which provide employment for men coming out of prison and with other barriers to employment. He combines excellence in academics with practical application in the community, for the common good.
Blong Yang | M.A. in Theology
Some people’s study of theology focuses on themselves—a way to address questions or explore new ideas. Blong studied theology for others. That is not to say he did not grapple with personal questions nor pursue topics of interest, but his primary orientation was toward others—his family, church and ethnic group. His passion to think about theological themes through the lens of his Hmong experience was a gift to other seminary students and professors. His commitment to think of better ways of communicating to Hmong people the Gospel and a vibrant theology centered on Jesus Christ has been a gift. He displayed persistence and discipline as he completed his degree over a number of years while balancing schoolwork, a full-time job, family and church commitments.
Spring 2021 Recipients
School of Humanities, Religion & Social Sciences
Marvin Santos Aquino, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Pre-PT/OT emphasis
Marvin excelled in academic performance in all classes, where he is both intellectually inquisitive and a critical thinker. He was the first to volunteer to serve when asked and actively participated in the ALAS program. He also served as a peer mentor and participated in research projects and many other assignments. He embodies the ideal student that the Spanish program, the School of Humanities Religion and Social Sciences and the university at large aspires to form in each student.
Kassandra Klein, Bachelor of Arts in English: Secondary Teaching and Intercultural Studies: TESOL
Kassandra is a leader among her peers in and out of the classroom. As an honors student, she had her paper selected for the Alpha Chi convention last year. She has been one of the editors on the Green Light, FPU’s annual student literary publication, for the past two issues and is one of the main contributing writers and copy editor for the Syrinx student newspaper. She is a pleasure to work with, and her work demonstrates sharp critical thinking, rigorous engagement with scholarship and criticism and a keen awareness of issues of social justice.
School of Natural Sciences
Joshua Jones, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Pre-PT/OT emphasis
Joshua is an excellent student, earning top grades in courses such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, biomechanics and exercise physiology courses while serving as a freshmen peer mentor for three years. He is very respectful, responsible, and a genuinely nice person. He has been accepted into Fresno State’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program for fall 2021.
Brittany Nielsen, Bachelor of Art in Pre-Health Sciences
Brittany has earned high grades, displaying focused discipline. Her path has been somewhat non-traditional, completing an associate degree in business and now aiming at an M.D./Ph.D. in psychiatry. She has a big heart to help the sick and the needy and has already served as a health scholar at Adventist Health and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. She demonstrated care and teaching ability as a peer mentor for transfer students, a science tutor at the Academic Success Center and as an EMT instructor.
School of Business
Matthew Wilfong, Bachelor of Science in Management and Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Christian Ministries
Matthew is a hard-working and dedicated student representing a mature Christian faith in his sojourn as an undergraduate. He has an excellent academic record and, in numerous class encounters, has been a joy to work with as he consistently displays a positive attitude filled with a beaming love and joy for Christ. He is respected highly and valued deeply by all in the FPU community.
Clint Harris, Master of Business Administration
Clint is a top student in the MBA program and has consistently shown care and a high quality in his work. His Christian character and leadership have been on display with his positive attitude and supportive manner as his cohort transitioned to online studies because of the pandemic. His faith has guided him on his journey, and he has taken a steady course and an optimistic attitude that impacts those around him.
School of Education
Byan Younes, Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts
Byan is a role model for all educators and students who have a passion to be of service to others. She is compassionate and has served her fellow students by helping to create a safe and loving community within her cohort during the pandemic. She has proven her intellect and resilience as a bilingual student who has experience in the U.S. as well as in the Middle East. She exemplifies the Fresno Pacific Idea, embracing the ideals that will not just change her life but the lives of others for years to come.
T.J. Ryan, Master of Arts in Administrative Services
T.J. is a dedicated educator who puts the students and staff around him first. He is a learning director for Woodlake Unified School District and has a desire to continue to grow as an educator in order to move students and staff to success. He is equipped with the tools to dig deeper into issues and work toward new outcomes that will ensure success for students, staff and the community.
Connie Nicholson, Master of Arts in New Testament
Connie came to seminary as a skilled and experienced pastor. She grew up in a charismatic tradition and is now serving in an Anabaptist Mennonite Brethren congregation. Her academic work is stellar, and her ministry skills have been amply demonstrated in the pastoral work she continues to do alongside her seminary studies. She models a life of prayer and dependence on God’s Spirit and encourages those around her.
Pam Yang, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Pam is committed to offering accessible, culturally sensitive and culturally competent therapy to underserved and underprivileged populations. She evidences a keen intellect, a love for the Lord, steadfast commitment to prayer and strong leadership. Her passion for the pragmatic application of her learning is evidenced in the self-initiated workshops and seminars she has developed and taught regarding the Hmong community. She actively applies what she learns to her personal and family life, to her church, to her therapeutic work with clients and to enriching the Hmong community.