Simpson University Honors 185 Graduates in Spring Commencement

For Immediate Release


Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall

REDDING, Calif. - Simpson University honored 185 graduates during its spring commencement Saturday, April 29. An estimated 2,000 people attended the outdoor event on campus.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall delivered the commencement speech, titling it “All Flesh Is Grass,” from Isaiah 40:6-8. He encouraged students to embrace with gratitude the time and place given them.

The ceremony, which was streamed on the website to more than 250 viewers, also featured the Simpson Women’s Chorale singing “And Can It Be” – one of Stegall’s favorite hymns, he told the crowd – and the presentation of several awards.

Dr. Gayle Copeland, provost, introduced the professors of the year: Dr. Stephen Bailey (Traditional Undergraduate Studies) and Dr. Peter Young (Adult Studies). Dr. Mike Loomis, associate vice president for student development, recognized students Brooke Mejorado and Shawn Colacchia with the Student Life Award for overall excellence.

2017 President's Cup winner Derek Ross

2017 President's Cup winner Derek Ross

President Robin Dummer honored graduate Derek Ross with the President’s Cup for his all-around contribution to the life of Simpson University. A communication major, Ross served as student body president, will lead a team to Taiwan with WorldSERVE this summer, and participated in the American Studies Program, interning at the nonprofit ONE Campaign in Washington, D.C., among many other Simpson activities.

The ceremony included graduates from A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Adult Studies, as well as traditional undergraduates.

The week of commencement was filled with activities, including a pinning ceremony for 29 graduates from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing; and an Alpha Sigma Lambda induction ceremony for ASPIRE (Adult Studies) graduates who achieved a grade-point average of 3.8 or higher.

At a baccalaureate service for all graduates the evening before commencement, seniors Kent Erickson (organizational leadership), Joel Steendam (business administration), and Paris Hallums (business administration) shared brief testimonials about the impact Simpson University has had on them spiritually. Dr. Bill Griffin, associate professor of ministry and Bible, challenged students to let go of their “lowercase gods” to “take the hand of your God.”

“When your gods are dying, and they will,” he said, “let the real God have his life in you.”

Simpson traditionally holds graduation twice a year — an indoor ceremony in January for summer and fall grads, and an outdoor event in April for spring graduates.

Simpson University was founded in Seattle, Wash., in 1921, and moved to Redding in 1989. In addition to offering 24 four-year bachelor’s degrees in its traditional program, Simpson has also helped more than 3,500 North State residents complete their degrees through the School of Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program, which offers classes online and on campus. The School of Education, which offers master’s degrees and credentialing programs, has graduated more than 2,500 students, many of whom teach or serve as administrators in Northern California.

For more information about Simpson University, visit

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Photos by Deanna Sloger

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Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737