University of Southern California

Office of Religious Life

Fostering a vibrant university community of spiritual reflection and free inquiry

Interfaith Engagement

Baccalaureate Ceremony

Each year, as part of USC's Commencement celebrations, the Office of Religious Life hosts USC's annual Baccalaureate Ceremony. Baccalaureate is a multi-faith celebration led by USC's religious directors, student leaders, musical groups, and university dignitaries. Baccalaureate also features a distinguished keynote speaker as well as a graduating student speaker. The service itself features music and readings from a wide range of religious traditions, and concludes with a benediction over the graduating students. Baccalaurate is held at USC's historic Bovard Auditorium and is followed by the popular Baccalaureate Dinner for graduating students and their families.

For more information about the Baccalaureate Ceremony and the Baccalaureate Dinner,
click here.

Baccalaureate History - Speakers & Worship Assistants

SpeakerWorship Assistants
2013Krista Tippett
On Being
Watch the Video
Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, United University Church
Rev. Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life
2012Lisa Ling
Our America with Lisa Ling
Watch the Video
Matthew Brensilver, Buddhist Meditation Organization
Reverend Jim Burklo, Associate Dean
2011Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Watch the Video
Randolph Dobbs, Baha'i Student Association
Reverend Jim Burklo, Associate Dean
2010Reverend Karen Tse
International Bridges to Justice
Michael Jeser, Director of Jewish Life
Ali Mir, Director of Muslim Life
2009The Very Rev. Canon Reverend Michael Battle, Ph.D.
PeaceBattle Institute
Reverend Jim Burklo, Associate Dean
Father Lawrence Seyer, USC Catholic Center
2008Dr. Richard Mouw
President, Fuller Theological Seminary
Michael Sylvester, Athletes in Action
Reverend Elizabeth Davenport
Senior Associate Dean
2007Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D.
President, Hebrew Union College
Brother Michael Parson, Latter-day Saints
Reverend Tita Valeriano, Lutheran Ministry
2006Chaplain Sharon Kugler
Johns Hopkins University
Ven. Muruthamure Pannaloka
Rev. Elizabeth Davenport
2005Reverend Dr. Philip A. Amerson
President, Claremont School of Theology
J. Wesley Robb, Professor Emeritus
Swami Atmavidyananda, Religious Director
Rev. Susan Halcomb Craig, Pastor UUC
2004Very Reverend John S. Bakas
Dean, Saint Sophia Cathedral
Rabbi Dov Wagner, Chabad
Swami Sarvadevananda, Hindu Student Org.
Revd. Elizabeth Davenport, Associate Dean
2003Nikky G. Kaur Singh
Chair, Religious Studies Dept. &
Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies, Colby College
Rev. Susan Halcomb Craig, UUC
Mr. Ira Dotson, ReJoyce in Jesus
Mr. Joseph Medicine Crow, Tribal Historian
2002Elder Henry B. Eyring
Commissioner of Education
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Scott Hall, InterVarsity
Rabbi Jonathan Klein, USC Hillel
Michael Parson, Latter-day Saints Student Assoc.
2001Cardinal Roger Mahony
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Rev. William Messenger, Catholic Center
David Michaelian, Campus Crusade
Ven. Jongmae Park, Buddhist Association
2000Rev. Cecil L. Murray
Senior Minister
First AME Church
Rev. Diane Kenney, United Ministry
Sheikh Sadullah Khan, Muslim Students
Dale Anderson, Christian Scientists
1999Professor Lina Gupta
Department of Philosophy
Glendale Community College
Ms. Fina Arnold, InterVaristy
Mr. Mike Parson, J.D., Latter-day Saints
Rev. Glenn M. Libby, Episcopal/Anglican
1998Rev. Dr. John H. Townsend
Sr. Minister Emeritus of the First
Baptist Church of Los Angeles
Rev. Susan Halcomb Craig, UUC
Rev. Neil Walker, Baptist Student Union
Rev. Shawn Zambrows, American Baptists
1997Right Reverend Frederick Borsch
Bishop of Episcopal Diocese Los Angeles
Rev. William Messenger, Catholic Center
Rev. Wilbur Barnett, Lutheran Pastor
Mohammed Khan, Muslim Advisor
1996Dr. Ananda W.P. Guruge
Senior Special Advisor to Director General of UNESCO
Dennis Tuma, Campus Crusade
Dr. Gloria Haithman, Baha’i Advisor
Julie Morris, USC Canterbury
1995Most Reverend Gabino Zavala
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Rev. Wilbur Barnett, Lutheran Pastor
Rabbi Uri Herscher, Hebrew Union College
Rev. William Messenger, Catholic Center
Rev. Shawn Zambrows, American Baptists
1994Dr. Maher Hathout
Islamic Center of Southern California
Rabbi Susan Laemmle. Hillel Jewish Center
Mike Parson, Latter-day Saints Students
1993Dr. E. Grace Payne
Executive Director
Westminster Neighborhood Association
Father Larry Walling, Catholic Center
Rev. Diane Kenney, United Ministry
Rabbi Susan Laemmle, Hillel Jewish Center
1992Rabbi Daniel Landers
National Education Director
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Father Lawrence M. Jenco, Catholic Center
Dr. Paul Hyde, Latter day Saints
Rev. Heidi Singh, Buddhist Chaplain
1991Most Reverend Carl A. Fisher
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Rabbi Ari Hier, Hillel Jewish Center
Rev. Shawn Zambrows, American Baptists
Fr. Eric Hung-Fat Law, Episcopal Chaplain
1990Reverend Alvin Rudisill
University Chaplain
Rabbi Laura Geller, Hillel Jewish Center
Dean Robert Mannes, InterVarsity Advisor
Wilbur Barnett, Lutheran Pastor
Sister Joanne Bauer, Catholic Center
1989Dr. David L. Lieber
President, University of Judaism
Rev. Patricia E. Farris, UUC
Rev. James Smith, Pentecostal Ministries
Fr. George Luznicky, Catholic Center
1988Dr. J. Wesley Robb
1987Archbishop Roger Mahoney
1986Father James N. Loughran
President, Loyola Marymount
Rev. Shawn Zambrows, American Baptists
Rev. Eric Hung-Fat Law, Episcopal Chaplain
1985Uri D. Herscher, D.H.L.
Executive Vice President
Hebrew Union College
Kevin Hughes, Campus Crusade
Father Don Duplessis, Catholic Center
1984Rev. Schubert M. Ogden
Professor of Theology
Southern Methodist University
Sister Angela Milioto, Catholic Center
Rev. Lawrence T. Young, UUC
1983Rev. Monsignor John Tracy Ellis
Professorial Lecturer in Church History
Catholic University of America
Rev. Diane Kenney, United Ministry
David Rimington, Latter day Saints
Rev. Dr. Peregrine Graffius, Catholic Center
1982Rev. Richard W. Cain
President, School of Theology
Claremont University
Douglas Walker, United Ministry
Rev. Dr. Edward Penonzek, Catholic Center
1981Nahum Norbert Glatzer, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion & Judaica
Boston University
Rabbi Laura Geller, Hillel Jewish Center
Sister Noelle O’Shea, Catholic Center
Rev. Samuel Chetti, American Baptists
1980Right Rev. Dr. John A.T. Robinson
Dean of Chapel, Trinity College
Cambridge University
Rev. Don Duplessis, Catholic Center
Rev. Wilbur Barnett, Lutheran Pastor
Rabbi Laura Geller, Hillel Jewish Center
1979Cynthia Clark Wedel, Ph.D.
President, World Council of Churches
Rev. Randy Deering, Baptist Student Union
Rev. Dr. Edward Penonzek, Catholic Center

USC Office of Religious Life

University Park Campus
University Religious Center, Rm 106
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Health Sciences Campus
McKibben Hall, Rm 160
Los Angeles, CA 90033

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